Well, I knew it would be too long before I broke rank (meant to be listening to this chronologically with the hub) and listened to one of these out of order. Today’s blog entry is thanks to my current anime of choice: Hunter x Hunter. At the end of episode 51 a very familiar passage of classical music was played over the end sequence where the shady Phantom Troupe massacre the local police and Mafia members. It’s a fantastically choreographed piece of animation that really does put a lot of real life entertainment to shame.
I don’t think there is a single consumer of culture that has not heard one of the movements from Requiem. It might have been in Amadeus, Watchmen, Hunter x Hunter, The Big Lebowski, X2 or even the Lent episode of Father Ted. More than likely it’s the final movement (known as the Communio) that you will have heard, although other parts crop up here and there.
I have little in the way of classical knowledge, but even I know that a requiem (much like a canticle or an antiphon) is classical music set to the Latin texts used in a Catholic requiem mass (mass for the dead e.g. funeral or memorial). If you listen to a number of requiems by different composers you are likely to hear the same sentences as they have used the same base texts.
If you have seen the, mostly fictionalised, biography Amadeus you should know that Requiem was one of the last pieces that Mozart worked on. He only completed parts of it, with later composers stepping in to fill in the blanks.
What makes this interesting for me is that I have skipped to the end of Mozart’s music. I know what he ultimately ended up at and now (when I fall back in line) I will be rewinding 18 years previous to hear some of his piano sonatas and string quartets.
What is fantastic about Requiem is that it effortlessly adds gravitas to anything you are doing. I had free time on a day off in leiu (curse you Saturday meetings) and every sentence I typed just felt grander.
Obviously in a 50 minute piece there are the more memorable movements. For that you are looking at (in movement order) ‘Dies irae’, ‘Rex Tremendae’ and the final ‘Communio’. Since these are the most memorable these will also be the ones you recognise. It is still worth listening to the whole 50 minutes though.