- Requiem - Nota Bene
- 3 April 2011 2:30 PM
Much of the world’s most beautiful choral music has been written to accompany the passage of the soul from this world to the afterlife. In our first concert this year, Peter de Blois directs the choir in the poignant Howells Requiem and a selection of other achingly beautiful works which combine to create a mass for the dead.
Herbert Howells wrote his Requiem in 1936 as a deeply personal response to the loss of his 9 year-old son. His text interleaves lines from the Latin Requiem Mass with verses from Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd) and Psalm 121 (I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills), as well as other passages from the scriptures. Our performance of this work is dedicated to a keenly missed former member of Nota Bene, Glenn Denby.
John Tavener’s Song for Athene was also written for one who died too young – a family friend, Athene Hariades, who had a passion for acting, poetry and the music of the Greek Orthodox Church. This moving piece combines texts from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Orthodox Funeral Service, and was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings started out as a movement of a string quartet he wrote in 1936, the same year Howells completed his Requiem. The more famous orchestral version is often played at funerals and commemorations and has featured in several film scores. In this concert we perform Barber’s own choral version of the Adagio, set to the Latin text Agnus Dei.
New Zealand composers Sam Piper and David Hamilton are represented by settings of the Kyrie and Lux Aeterna, and other highlights of the programme include young soprano Lara Denby singing the Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem, and an organ arrangement of Albinoni’s haunting Adagio performed by Douglas Mews.