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Notes, Texts, and Translations

In Paradisum: 500 Years of the Requiem


Requiem aeternam

Some of the earliest musical settings of the Requiem are preserved in the Gregorian chant repertory, which has been used continuously in the Western church for centuries. Initially an oral tradition, chant began to be standardized in the 7th-9th centuries through the use of written notation (neumes) which would become the precursor to modern Western music notation.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Te decet hymnus Deus in Sion,

et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.

Exaudi orationem meam,

ad te omnis caro veniet.

Requiem aeternam…

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord,
and let light perpetual shine upon them.
You are worthy to praised, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall prayer be offered in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer,
for to you shall all flesh come.
Rest eternal…

Musikalische Exequien (excerpt)

Although not technically a Requiem, this piece by Schütz is a “teutschen [sic] Begräbnis-Missa” (a German burial mass), and so could be considered the closest thing to a Requiem that could be written in an early Lutheran setting. This excerpt from the beginning follows loosely the form of a Kyrie in the choral sections with small sections of solos in between. Interestingly enough, Schütz also begins with a snippet of chant in German, bridging the old and the new.


Nacket werde ich wiederum dahinfahren, der Herr hat's gegeben, der Herr hat's genommen, der Name des Herren sei gelobet.

Naked shall I return there in turn, The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, the name of the Lord be praised. (Job 1:21)


Herr Gott Vater im Himmel, erbarm dich über uns.

Lord God, Father in heaven, have mercy on us. (Kyrie eleison)


Christus ist mein Leben, Sterben ist mein Gewinn. Siehe, das ist Gottes Lamm, das der Welt Sünde trägt.

Christ is my life, dying is my gain. Behold, that is the Lamb of God who carries the sins of the world. (Philippians 1:21, John 1:29b)


Jesu Christe, Gottes Sohn, erbarm dich über uns.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. (Christe eleison)


Leben wir, so leben wir dem Herren. Sterben wir, so sterben wir dem Herren, darum wir leben oder sterben, so sind wir des Herren.

If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die, we die to the Lord, therefore if we live, or we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8)


Herr Gott heiliger Geist, erbarm dich über uns.

Lord God, Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. (Kyrie eleison)

Graduale (Requiem aeternam)

Victoria’s setting of the Officium Defunctorum (Office for the Dead) is often referred to as “the Victoria Requiem”, even though technically it is not a Requiem – however, there is a lot of overlap in the of these two services, and polyphonic settings of the Requiem were not as common in Victoria’s time. This short excerpt uses a common structure of the time: alternating between sections of chant and sections of polyphony in which the chant melody is continued in longer note values and polyphony sung around it. 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
In memoria aeterna erit iustus,
ab auditione mala non timebit.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord :
and let light perpetual shine upon them.
They shall be justified in everlasting memory,
and shall not fear evil reports.

Dies irae (excerpt)

Perhaps no single piece of Gregorian chant has as much continued cultural significance as the Dies irae – its characteristic half-steps-and-minor-third opening motive (fa mi fa re) has been quoted in dozens (if not hundreds) of other pieces of music from Haydn to Rachmaninoff, as well as film scores from The Shining to Frozen 2. The sequence’s nineteen verses are set syllabically with a handful of repeating melodies: this afternoon we will sing only the first two.

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!


This day, this day of wrath
shall consume the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.


What trembling there will be
When the judge shall come
to weigh everything strictly!


One of the greatest composers of Anglican choral and organ music, C. V. Stanford is known for his many works which are staples of church choirs and organists to this day; this short voluntary for organ is from a collection of preludes for various occasions. Stanford immediately embodies the title “Requiem” by quoting the Dies irae chant in the opening pedal line: the theme continues to be quoted throughout the piece’s sections, which vary widely in emotional character.

Domine Jesu Christe & Hostias (from Requiem)

It is almost impossible to speak of Mozart’s Requiem without lamenting the circumstances of his death – the piece remained unfinished when he died of a sudden illness at the age of 35. The choral parts of these two movements were fully written out by Mozart, as well as the continuo part throughout and a few snippets of the violin parts, and the rest was completed (as was the bulk of the unfinished portions of the Requiem) by Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Mozart sets the text with dramatic music that pushes the extremes of dynamic and range, and the climactic “Quam olim Abrahae” fugue repeats in its entirety at the end of the Hostias.

Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni
et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
Sed signifer sanctus Michael
repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam,
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semini ejus.

Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,
deliver the soulds of all the faithful departed
from the pains of Hell
and the bottomless pit.
Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,
lest hell engulf them,
lest they be plunged into darkness;
but let the holy standard-bearer Michael
lead them into the holy light,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine
laudis offerimus
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte
transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti…

Lord, in praise we offer you
Sacrifices and prayers,
accept them on behalf of those
who we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass
from death to life,
as once you promised to Abraham…

Psalm 121 (from Requiem)

Howells is primarily known for his Anglican church music, and his harmonic language is particularly unique. For his Requiem, he chose a combination of traditional Requiem texts as well as other sacred texts, including this psalm, all set acapella. Although Howells wrote the Requiem in 1932, it remained unpublished and he reused much of the material for Hymnus Paridisi in 1950 – the original version was finally performed in 1980 and the piece was published the following year.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh even from the Lord,
Who hath made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved
And he that keepeth thee will not sleep.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.


The Lord himself is thy keeper,
He is thy defense upon thy right hand.
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day,
Neither the moon by night.


The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil.
Yea, it is he, even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in, 
From this time forth and for evermore.


(Notes taken from the publisher’s website:) “Singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson wrote Requiem as a song of grief following the Asian tsunami in December 2004, and the song found a renewed audience after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region. This setting by Conspirare conductor Craig Hella Johnson is powerful in its emotional impact.”

mother mary, full of grace, awaken
all our homes are gone, our loved ones taken
taken by the sea
mother mary, calm our fears, have mercy
drowning in a sea of tears, have mercy
hear our mournful plea
our world has been shaken
we wander our homelands forsaken

in the dark night of the soul
bring some comfort to us all
oh mother mary come and carry us in your embrace
that our sorrows may be faced
mary, fill the glass to overflowing
illuminate the path where we are going
have mercy on us all
in funeral fires burning
each flame to your mystery returning

in the dark night of the soul
your shattered dreamers, make them whole
oh mother mary find us where we've fallen out of grace
lead us to a higher place

in the dark night of the soul
our broken hearts you can make whole
oh mother mary come and carry us in your embrace
let us see your gentle face, mary

Sanctus (from Requiem)

While today Cherubini might be considered one of the more minor figures in late Classical/early Romantic music, he was well-regarded in his day, particularly for his operas and church music, by his contemporaries including Beethoven and Haydn. This short, exuberant setting of the Sanctus calls to mind the character and flair of a Verdi opera chorus, but with a more restrained joy. It was a happy accident that it is in the same key as the Lloyd Webber, making the transition from otherwise very different pieces slightly more auspicious!

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus

Dominus Deus Sabaoth!

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis!


Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domine.

Hosanna in excelsis!


Holy, holy, holy

Lord God of hosts!

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!


Blessed is the one that comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

Pie Jesu (from Requiem)

Perhaps it goes without saying that Lloyd Webber is primarily known for his achievements in musical theater, with shows like Cats and Phantom of the Opera achieving worldwide fame. Of all the portions in his setting of the Requiem, this piece is by far the most well-known, and is often performed as a duet – we are thrilled to be able to present it today in its original form, as a duet with accompanying chorus. Although the piece is called Pie Jesu, the text is a combination of two different texts from the Requiem: Pie Jesu (itself the final couplet of the Dies Irae sequence) and Agnus Dei – essentially, it is an Agnus Dei with the first two words replaced with “Pie Jesu.” The soaring duet, originally written for “solo soprano and solo boy” paints the merciful nature of the text in a hauntingly beautiful way.

Pie Jesu, qui tollis peccata mundi
dona eis requiem.

Pie Jesu, qui tollis…

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Merciful Jesus, that takes away the sins of the world,
Grant them rest.

Merciful Jesus, that takes away…

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
Grant them eternal rest.

In Remembrance

Although a standalone work, this piece begins with Latin text from the Requiem: “Lux aeterna luceat eis Domine,” before continuing with texts from Psalms 25, 22, and 30. Originally scored for choir, piano, and French horn, parts were also included for both B♭ and C instruments for flexibility, so we adapted the obbligato part for cello. Dr. Jeffery Ames is ​​Director of Choral Activities at Belmont University, and is an accomplished composer, arranger, conductor, and clinician. Among his many honors, Dr. Ames was the first recipient of the National ACDA James Mulholland Choral Music Fellowship, as well as being the first African American to represent the United States in the ACDA International Conductor Exchange Program. 

Lux aeterna, luceat eis, Domine
(Let perpetual light shine on them, O Lord)


Turn to me and be gracious 
For my heart is in distress.


O God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?
My tears linger at night, but joy comes in the morning light.


Luceat eis, Domine…

Lord, in your infinite mercy, grant them rest, rest forever more.

Libera me (from Requiem)

Fauré is remembered as one of the foremost French composers of his day, and is known for works in a wide range of genres, from piano solos to orchestral music. Originally scored for chorus, soloists, orchestra, and organ, his setting of the Requiem is among the most frequently-performed Requiems, especially in its arrangement for chorus and organ. Interestingly, Fauré does not include the apocalyptic Dies Irae text at all, preserving only the final couplet of Pie Jesu – this means that this movement (Libera Me) contains the only true mention of hell or the eschaton (and, coincidentally, the two words “dies irae”) and is the most dramatic music in the piece. Even within this section, however, Fauré only sets the text “dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem” ([when] you shall come to judge the world by fire) once, despite it appearing twice in the original text. It appears even here Fauré is making a theological decision to focus on mercy, rest, and light rather than fear, wrath, and judgment.

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna
in die illa tremenda
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo,
dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira:

Dies illa, dies irae, calamitatis et miseriae, 
Dies illa, dies magna et amara valde


Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death
on that awful day
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken
and you shall come to judge the world by fire.


I am seized with fear and trembling
until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come:

That day, day of wrath, calamity and misery,

day of great and exceeding bitterness


Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

In paradisum (excerpt)

(text in following section)

In paradisum (from Requiem)

Duruflé’s setting of the Requiem follows a similar pattern to Fauré’s: he omits the Dies irae (using only Pie Jesu) and (also like Fauré) includes “In paradisum,” which is a text not from the Requiem, but from the burial service. Duruflé’s entire setting is built on the centuries-old Gregorian chant melodies of the Requiem; at the beginning of this movement, the sopranos sing a metrified version of the chant you just heard. For the final section, the organ and choir switch roles, with the choir singing rich harmony while a solo stop on the organ plays the winding, rhythmically nebulous chant through to the end. This is certainly one of the most iconic and beautiful endings of any Requiem, and from the earliest stage of our planning we knew this was how we wanted this concert to end. We hope you have enjoyed the music presented this afternoon, and that it leaves you with a sense of peace and wholeness.

In paradisum deducant angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.

Chorus angelorum te suscipat
et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere,
aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise;
at your coming may the martyrs receive you
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus, once poor,
may you have eternal rest.

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