for: SATB divisi, solo tenor, solo cello, organ, piano
duration: 50 minutes
premièred: June 9, 2018 | Holy Trinity Sloane Square, London
Alex Woolf’s Requiem proceeds in a sequence of nine movements. Six are large-scale choral settings of the traditional Mass (Introit, Kyrie, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and In Paradisum). The remaining three movements are chamber-scale settings of Gillian Clarke’s poetry, led by the solo tenor. The textual sources for these three movements are deliberately varied: Clarke’s poem The Fall was written in response to the September 11th attacks; A Crowd of Cares is based on Clarke’s translation of 7th-century elegies by Britain’s earliest known-by-name poet, Aneirin. Together with the natural and religious imagery of The Year’s Midnight, the text for these movements complements and augments the traditional Latin and Greek of the Mass in various illuminating ways; it provides a very human commentary in an environment which nevertheless aspires toward the divine. Binding the whole Requiem together is the solo cello; throughout the work the cello is imagined as a kind of messenger – an angel, perhaps – between the earthbound voice of the choir and the divine voice of God, between that which one can easily hear and that which passes all understanding.
Requiem was premiered by Nicky Spence (tenor), Laura van der Heijden (cello) & Vox Luna Chamber Choir, conducted by the composer.
77 pages, full score
Score samples below (click to zoom):