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Thread: Top 5 Requiems?

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    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    1. Berlioz
    2. Mozart
    3. Victoria
    4. Brahms
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

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    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Very Senior Member View Post
    Brahms Requiem is not a piece of music to honour someone who has died. It differs from R.C Requiems not just in the language in which it was written (German) and the source material (Lutheran Bible), but more fundamentally in that R.C. Requiems are written for the benefit of the dead whilst Brahms Requiem is written to comfort the living upon the occasion of someone's death.

    In the R.C. Church the doctrine is that deceased people can be assisted in the after-life by prayers and deeds offered by those still living. In most Protestant Churches, once you're dead you're dead and in God's care only, with nothing more that can be done to help the "souls departed" by the actions of those still living, e.g by offering prayers or Masses etc.

    Consistent with this distinction, Brahms Requiem starts with an extract from the Beatitudes: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Although written using text from the Lutheran Bible, it is not exclusively for use among Christians but has wider appeal among humanists as well. It is of course a nice piece of music with an appeal outside any religious connotations at all.
    I am interested in this emboldened portion, because it occurs to me that oftentimes people who discuss classical music prefer to downplay religion in music. While I understand that not all people are religious or have the same religious inclinations as those who have composed religious works, I have to say that my religious standpoint is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy religious music. Actually, it's probably the primary reason. There certainly is a lot of musical value in masses, credos, etc., but I honestly don't think there is any way for someone who isn't committed to Christianity to really understand those Christian works. If in your world Christ didn't prostrate Himself unto dishonorable treatment and death, and did it for you, than there is no way for you to get Bach's Passion accounts like a Christian. The whole point of such music isn't just to observe religious institutions, while you fancy the notes of the composition. The point is for the listener to resoundingly agree with (or at least in heart) and dwell in the thought of the text. Unlike a lot of other music out there, this type of music absolutely hangs on the text. There is nothing else that it is trying to express, so if the text doesn't sit right with you, it's impossible for you to get it.

    Of course, I mean no offense.
    Last edited by Lukecash12; Oct-04-2012 at 00:22.
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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConcertVienna View Post
    when you say Requiem, you just think of Mozart!
    I think of Verdi.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I am interested in this emboldened portion, because it occurs to me that oftentimes people who discuss classical music prefer to downplay religion in music. While I understand that not all people are religious or have the same religious inclinations as those who have composed religious works, I have to say that my religious standpoint is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy religious music. Actually, it's probably the primary reason. There certainly is a lot of musical value in masses, credos, etc., but I honestly don't think there is any way for someone who isn't committed to Christianity to really understand those Christian works. If in your world Christ didn't prostrate Himself unto dishonorable treatment and death, and did it for you, than there is no way for you to get Bach's Passion accounts like a Christian. The whole point of such music isn't just to observe religious institutions, while you fancy the notes of the composition. The point is for the listener to resoundingly agree with (or at least in heart) and dwell in the thought of the text. Unlike a lot of other music out there, this type of music absolutely hangs on the text. There is nothing else that it is trying to express, so if the text doesn't sit right with you, it's impossible for you to get it.

    Of course, I mean no offense.
    I most certainly do not believe in religion but can appreciate that probably the composer did and the people it was aimed at did. But I can't understand why you think that I can't appreciate all that you mention but as an observer,that is a very sanctimonious attitude.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    I always think how ironic it is how popular Mozart's Requiem has become since Amadeus, given how little of it he wrote. For this reason, I have to discount this composite composition. My five in no particular order:

    Britten - War Requiem
    Cherubini - Requiem in C minor
    Fauré - Requiem
    Holmboe - Requiem for Nietzsche
    Verdi - Requiem

    The Brahms Deutsches Requiem almost makes me cry with boredom.

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  8. #66
    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I am interested in this emboldened portion, because it occurs to me that oftentimes people who discuss classical music prefer to downplay religion in music. While I understand that not all people are religious or have the same religious inclinations as those who have composed religious works, I have to say that my religious standpoint is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy religious music. Actually, it's probably the primary reason. There certainly is a lot of musical value in masses, credos, etc., but I honestly don't think there is any way for someone who isn't committed to Christianity to really understand those Christian works. If in your world Christ didn't prostrate Himself unto dishonorable treatment and death, and did it for you, than there is no way for you to get Bach's Passion accounts like a Christian. The whole point of such music isn't just to observe religious institutions, while you fancy the notes of the composition. The point is for the listener to resoundingly agree with (or at least in heart) and dwell in the thought of the text. Unlike a lot of other music out there, this type of music absolutely hangs on the text. There is nothing else that it is trying to express, so if the text doesn't sit right with you, it's impossible for you to get it.

    Of course, I mean no offense.
    You're right in a way, it would be silly to watch an opera without caring for the libretto, right? But a non-Christian can be a Christian for the duration of the mass... that's what great art does to people. Also, there can linger a desire, or an uncertainty, even when there's no final, formal allegiance... like Pasolini said of himself: "I am an unbeliever... but I have a great nostalghia for belief".
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

  9. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I am interested in this emboldened portion, because it occurs to me that oftentimes people who discuss classical music prefer to downplay religion in music. While I understand that not all people are religious or have the same religious inclinations as those who have composed religious works, I have to say that my religious standpoint is one of the primary reasons that I enjoy religious music. Actually, it's probably the primary reason. There certainly is a lot of musical value in masses, credos, etc., but I honestly don't think there is any way for someone who isn't committed to Christianity to really understand those Christian works. If in your world Christ didn't prostrate Himself unto dishonorable treatment and death, and did it for you, than there is no way for you to get Bach's Passion accounts like a Christian. The whole point of such music isn't just to observe religious institutions, while you fancy the notes of the composition. The point is for the listener to resoundingly agree with (or at least in heart) and dwell in the thought of the text. Unlike a lot of other music out there, this type of music absolutely hangs on the text. There is nothing else that it is trying to express, so if the text doesn't sit right with you, it's impossible for you to get it.

    Of course, I mean no offense.
    For me, the bible is just as much a work of fiction as any opera libretto. I can enjoy opera knowing the plot and libretto are often ridiculous and nonsensical - it doesn't reduce my enjoyment of the work as a whole. Similarly, my enjoyment of the great sacred works of music are not reduced in my total non-belief in the religion being celebrated. Ironically, there are plenty of great scared choral works written by agnostic and atheist composers. What do you make of that?

  10. #68
    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    For me, the bible is just as much a work of fiction as any opera libretto. I can enjoy opera knowing the plot and libretto are often ridiculous and nonsensical - it doesn't reduce my enjoyment of the work as a whole. Similarly, my enjoyment of the great sacred works of music are not reduced in my total non-belief in the religion being celebrated. Ironically, there are plenty of great scared choral works written by agnostic and atheist composers. What do you make of that?
    I make of it that they wanted to be successful like their peers who wrote such works. And it's a bummer that I can't share in the sentiment of the composer, then.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I make of it that they wanted to be successful like their peers who wrote such works. And it's a bummer that I can't share in the sentiment of the composer, then.
    Among agnostic and atheist composers who wrote sacred requiems, there are:

    Berlioz
    Brahms
    Mozart (yes!)
    Schumann
    Verdi

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    I always think how ironic it is how popular Mozart's Requiem has become since Amadeus, given how little of it he wrote.
    This is debatable I think - " It cannot be shown to what extent Süssmayr may have depended on now lost "scraps of paper" for the remainder..."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_%28Mozart%29

    Also I think the Introit, Kyrie, Dies Irie (and part of Lacrimosa) are masterfully written works that shouldn't be 'thrown out with the bath water' so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    The Brahms Deutsches Requiem almost makes me cry with boredom.


    Well, Brahms' Requiem is my favorite followed by Britten's and Mozart's.
    Last edited by tdc; Oct-05-2012 at 07:07.

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    As I have claimed in another relevant thread, Mozart's Requiem is the most balanced, perfectly written in all the musical lines from the actually melodic to even the bass ones. Every aspect of the composition (form, structure, orchestration, balance among the movements, the singing treatment of every single line and some more) make it The (musical) Requiem.
    I listen and I am involved in this Music for more than three decades and Mozart's Requiem has ever been the Reference one as the Mass in b minor by Bach is for the Masses. If the film "Amadeus" brought it closer to the Grand Public, it does not add or reduce anything as for the appreciation the work has always enjoyed in the professional world of people involved in Classical Music. For the popularity of it, yes the film may have played a certain role. (So, ConcertVienna, I fully agree with you: when you say Requiem...).
    Verdi's Requiem, which seems to be a popular one in this forum, is an off the mark, over the top, almost totally operatic work. Impressive indeed, emotionally and sonically very powerful, the orchestration is more than excessive even if it is welcome (because of the creative writing), the length is beyond any proportion and, at the end of the day, audiences do not know whether they have to be excited for the "show" or deeply moved on account of the serious and solemn issue of a Mass for the Dead!(?).
    Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem is, as the title clearly implies, a very German work. Brahms cared mostly about the form and the structure than to excite the audience. Whether a believer or not, he wished to serve the purpose and he did it marvelously, at least in musical terms. The Choral writing is an absolute jewel of composition, while the Orchestra (contrary to the excessive forces of Berlioz and Verdi) serves, in the best possible way, the text and the scope of the work.
    Lukecash12, I can subscribe to what you have claimed about the connection of faith and the religious works. It is at least awkward to any none sharing (even to some extent) the purpose, the scope and the meaning of the text sung, sometimes so repeatedly (just count how many times a "Kyrie Eleison" or an "Amen" are sung in the respective movements. I think for non-believers this is a sort of torture, whether they try to ignore or bypass the words). As Moody said, a non-believer can enjoy the music as an observer, but what this may mean. Can one enjoys an eating experience as an observer? Can anyone gets the utmost of love by being an observer in a relation? In the listening experience, the audience participate! They share the experience with the work of the composer. Otherwise, by "observing", they keep a distance very crucial for appreciating the whole experience and the total artistic phenomenon.
    Finally, Delicious Manager, the "Bible", fiction or not (by the way, not all operatic libretti are fictional; some are based on true stories) is the reference Book/source for a great part of the people in this planet and that counts more than the actual character of it. Libretti "are often ridiculous and nonsensical", but, that's the greatness of Classical (and not only) Music; it transcends the text and, most importantly, can make audiences believe or at least participate/share what's happening on the stage and in the score. In this vein, the agnostic (by the way, the agnostics are believers; they believe in the unknown God!) and atheist composers mentioned by DM, managed to write some great, glorious, even monumental Requiems to serve the scope and purpose of the work, overcoming their limitations and respecting the actual subject of their composition. Good for them!

    Principe
    Last edited by principe; Oct-05-2012 at 22:38.

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    Senior Member Arsakes's Avatar
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    Haven't listened to many...

    1. Mozart
    2. Dvorak
    3. Brahms

    also I've heard nice things about Berlioz and Verdi Requiems.
    Last edited by Arsakes; Oct-06-2012 at 07:56.

  16. #73
    Senior Member Arsakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    Among agnostic and atheist composers who wrote sacred requiems, there are:

    Berlioz
    Brahms
    Mozart (yes!)
    Schumann
    Verdi
    I know no one you mentioned is atheist. Others are (Christian or non/C kind of) Deist and Berlioz can be considered agnostic. Wagner also was a deist.

    I don't mind atheists as long as they don't be a dirtbag like Richard Dawkins

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  18. #74
    Senior Member Chrythes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsakes View Post
    I know no one you mentioned is atheist. Others are (Christian or non/C kind of) Deist and Berlioz can be considered agnostic. Wagner also was a deist.

    I don't mind atheists as long as they don't be a dirtbag like Richard Dawkins
    Berlioz, according to Wikipedia and this reference - Boult, G. K. Life of Berlioz. 1903, was an atheist, apparently he proclaimed himself as such in his letters.

    Verdi was an atheist, or if you'd like a "free thinker" - Verdi's attitude toward religion is clearly indicated in a letter written about him by his wife, Giuseppina: "For some virtuous people a belief in God is necessary. Others, equally perfect, while observing every precept of the highest moral code, are happier believing in nothing."

    Brahms was agnostic, or essentially a freethinker humanist. His requiem is based on humanistic values not on religious values and beliefs.

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  20. #75
    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    I like Brahms' Requiem, but it's somehow unlike any of his other works. It's so big I listen to it almost like Wagner.

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