Requiem is the name given to the Catholic Mass that develops to ask for the soul of a person who has died. This ceremony is usually carried out before a funeral and in subsequent acts to remember the deceased individual.
The concept is also used to name the musical piece that accompanies the liturgical text of the ceremony in question. Therefore, a large number of compositions it receives the denomination of requiem, even though its interpretation is rare nowadays.
Designed in principle for him Gregorian singing, the requiems then had polyphonic versions and of other kinds. There are requiems a cappella and others that appeal to different instruments as an accompaniment.
The liturgy is divided into different parts: Introit, Kyrie eleison, Gradual, Tract, Sequence, Offertory, Saint, Agnus Dei and Communion. Given the extension of texts, musicians often make the decision to omit certain fragments or to divide the liturgy into several movements. Let’s see below the content of each of the parts:
* Introit: the Lord is asked to provide the deceased with perpetual light and eternal rest, making mention that all mortals are directed towards him and the sacrifices that are offered in his honor in Jerusalem;
* Kyrie eleison: the text is of little length and its three verses are practically identical, all with the objective of asking Christ for mercy;
* Gradual: In this third part of the requiem, the faithful ask the Lord that the dead enjoy eternal rest and endless light, as in the Introit, but the importance of having acted with justice during the life, so that your memory never fades;
* Tract: God is asked to absolve the souls of those who turn to him, so that they do not have to bear the weight of their sins and that, instead of suffering revenge, they can be eternally happy protected by his grace;
* Sequence: there is talk of day of the go to, the one in which everything will be reduced to mere ashes, of which the Sibyl and King David will be witnesses;
* Offertory: Christ is asked to free the souls of the dead from the infernal flames and the infinite abyss, so that they do not get lost in darkness, but rather find the holy light that was promised to Abraham and his descendants. Praises and supplications are offered to him in exchange for giving the dead eternal life;
* Holy: this part serves to exalt greatness and holiness of the Lord, whose glory floods heaven and earth, and to bless those in whose name they appear;
* Agnus Dei: similar in simplicity to Kyrie eleison, its lines are practically the same as each other and ask the Lamb of God give eternal rest to the dead;
* Communion: to close the requiem, we pray once again that the eternal light illuminates the deceased, exalting the mercy of the Lord.
There are other texts, which have been added to some arrangements, such as the motet «Foot Jesu“, the “Set me free»(Which comes from the«Absolution“) and the “In paradisum»(Of the burial).
The Requiem of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart it is one of the best known. It is the last composition of the Austrian musician, which he left unfinished and was completed by his disciple Franz Xaver Süssmayr According to his instructions. This requiem was premiered at the mass that took place after the death own Mozart.
Antonio Salieri, Robert Schumann, Johannes brahms, Giuseppe Verdi, Igor Stravinsky Y Andrew Lloyd Webber are other composers who have created requiems, often with the intention that they be performed at funerals of loved ones to honor their memory.