A Conversation for Benjamin Britten's War Requiem
Why no mention of other Twentieth-Century requiems?
paulh. Waiting impatiently for Spring Started conversation Nov 22, 2004
I heard Britten's "War Requiem" on the radio one time, and disliked it immensely. My comments are not about Britten's work, therefore, but about this comment in your article:
" Probably the best-known are the Requiems of Palestrina, Victoria, Mozart (written on his deathbed and unfinished), Cherubini, Gossec, Schumann, Dvorák, Bruckner, Verdi, Berlioz and Fauré."
I doubt that one person in 100 has even heard of Victoria, Gossec, and (even) Cherubini, let alone heard any of their music. (Although I have sung liturgical and secular music by Victoria, I didn't know he had even written any Requiems.) Thus, to say that their Requiems are among the better-known examples of the genre implies that it isn't a very robust genre. Mozart, Verdi, and Faure (and possibly Berlioz) are the heavy-hitters in Requiem-land.
However, it may be that future surveys of the Requiem will include some Twentieth-Century contributions such as those by Durufle and John Rutter (though some of Rutter's work is in English, and borrowed from the "Book of Common Prayer").
I believe that Michael Haydn (one of Franz Joseph Haydn's younger brothers) also wrote a Requiem, which (according to some scholars) Mozart was familiar with, and was influenced by.
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