My idea of the world's most wonderful music is pretty mutable. Generally my favorites are something by Bach or Mozart. But at other times it is whatever I am currently listening to, or what we are working on at choir. Today it is Duruflé’s Requiem. Every year we sing a Requiem Mass on November 2, All Souls’ Day, and most often it has been Mozart. However, some years, we sing another Requiem, and this year it is Duruflé's exquisite composition.
Mozart’s Requiem is all about the our ultimate victory over the terrors of death, and our eventual triumphal march across the Great Divide into Heaven. Duruflé, on the other hand, seems to have accepted death, and realizes that it can be peaceful and even lovely. His Mass setting is more about Heaven itself. Dies Irae, the most terrifying part of the Mozart’s Requiem is not even there. Duruflé is all about eternal bliss. The musical themes are based on the Gregorian chants for the Requiem Mass, but the chants are imbued with a new life and quiet magnificence unimaginable until you hear it. Listening to it is like being in a cloud of celestial sound.
All are invited to participate in the Mass for All Soul's Day and to hear this wonderful music at St. James Cathedral on the Feast of All Souls, November 2 at 7:30.