The Rutter Requiem and Why It’s Awesome. Yes, I Use the Word “Awesome” Too Much, but It Totally Applies Here.

If you grew up Episcopalian or Catholic (I didn’t), you probably have a head start on all this “requiem” business, but if you’re still catching up (like me), here’s a synopsis: The requiem began as a type of mass to honor the dead. Traditionally, there are twelve parts to the requiem, beginning with the Introit and ending with the In paradisum. However, as composers began to play with the format, they began to see it more as an art form and less as a rigid liturgy. The Rutter Requiem, for example, has only seven movements. The Duruflé has nine, the Mozart seven-ish, and so on. Anyway, more on those later.

So growing up, I’d never heard of the Rutter Requiem. When I finally did, I was about nineteen, thinking that I knew oh-so-much about music (for the record, I didn’t…and still don’t!). I was given the chance to sing the second movement, “Out of the Deep” with a choir at a conference. Long story short, I’d never heard music like that before, and I couldn’t wait to find a way to hear the rest of the Requiem. I mean, I was hooked. It changed how I felt about sacred music in general. Fast forward about seven years, and I still love this work so much and could pretty much never get tired of it.

I’m not going to ramble with biographical info about John Rutter or even with more info about the Requiem itself. You can get all that stuff with a quick Google search. What I’m going to do is much more important–

Requiem aeternam
Out of the Deep (My favorite. Has been referred to as “Anglican blues.” Ahhhhh.)
Pie Jesu
Agnus Dei (My other favorite.)
The Lord is My Shepherd (My last favorite. Yes, I have three favorites.)
Lux aeterna

I hope you love it like I do. More requiem fun to follow.

So what do you think? Does this speak to you? It’s much more moving to hear it in person, of course, but even the recording is still pretty great. Do you have favorite movements? Favorite masses? Let’s chat it up in the comments!

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