John Rutter Requiem published

On this day in 1986, John Rutter Requiem was published by Oxford University Press.

Requiem was written in 1985 and first performed in October of that year. Following the precedent established by Brahms and Fauré, among others, it is not strictly a setting of the Requiem Mass as laid down in Catholic liturgy, but instead is made up of a personal selection of texts, some taken from the Requiem Mass and some from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

The seven sections of the work form an arch-like meditation on the themes of life and death: the first and last movements (Requiem aeternam and Lux aeternam) are prayers on behalf of all humanity, movements 2 and 3 (Out of the deep and The Lord is my shepherd) are psalms, 3 and 5 (Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei) are personal prayers to Christ, and the central Sanctus is an affirmation of divine glory.

This is one of the best-loved and most widely performed choral works of the twentieth century. The texts (in Latin and English) are from the Missa pro Defunctis, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Psalms. The seven sections form an arch-like meditation on the themes of life and death: prayers on behalf of all humanity, psalms, personal prayers to Christ, and in the central Sanctus an affirmation of divine glory.

Vocal and orchestral material is available to hire/rent at Oxford University Press.

Rutter Requiem is featured on the CD: Visions & Requiem and is available from our web shop.

In the first of a series of short films about the composition of his Requiem (1985), John Rutter discusses the personal and musical impetuses which drove him to begin working on the piece: the death of his father, and an encounter with the original manuscript of Fauré’s setting of the Requiem Mass in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.  John Rutter discusses his Requiem.