Saturday, 6 October 2007

Mass for the Dead

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am teaching the chlidren to sing the plainchant Mass for the Dead,

This is stunniingly beautiful music and covers a huge spectrum of the human emotional response to death in a way that modern 'celebrations of the life of...' simply do not.

The main theme - from the opening words - is praying for the repose of the soul of the dead person. Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine 'Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.' But there is also the stormy passion of the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) and the beauty and hope of the In paradisum.

Further, the fact that for the past several centuries, so many saints and ordinry people have been buried with this music resounding (including my late Mother) adds a particular potency to it.

And if one knows some of the more modern Requiems (Faure, Durufle etc) one dlelights to learn where they got so many of their themes - and how brilliantly they worked with them.

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