Arthur Gottschalk, Requiem For The Living
by Garrett Schumann, Composer
Work Background :
➔ Gottschalk wrote his Requiem as a personal work, and began conceiving it in 2001 following
the September 11th terrorist attacks
➔ Requiem For The Living is a pastiche of many different texts and musical styles ranging from
from 20th-century modernism, to big band, to Renaissance counterpoint, and pop ballads
An American Requiem?
➔ The work’s most dramatic stylistic references are to Duke Ellington-style swing and
African-American Spirituals, which are decidedly American genres
Guided Listening :
Consider the ways Gottschalk carefully unites many different musical styles
➔ The second movement, "Dies Irae - Night of Power - Rex Tremendae", serves as a terrific
microcosm for this process
◆ Listen to the entire movement, and particularly pay attention to the 'dies irae' chant
melody that enters approximate 5 minutes into the movement
◆ Listen again, and try to observe how Gottschalk masks this tune until revealing it in full
Consider the rhetorical relationship between the chorus and the soloists
➔ The soloists almost exclusively sing in languages other than latin, while the chorus sings
almost entirely in Latin
◆ What could these different performance perspectives symbolize?
➔ Also, the soloists mostly sing non-liturgical texts, while the choir almost only sings the Latin
◆ Does this contrast create a meaningful dialog between the soloists and the choir?
Consider the moments when the piece makes its clearest stylistic departures
➔ As I have noted, Requiem for the Living’s most salient references are to big band music in the
fourth movement, "Sanctus - Ellington - Benedictus - Hosanna", and the Gospel in the seventh
movement, "Gospel - Spiritual - Libera Me"
◆ How does the aesthetic contrast of these references affect their meaning?
◆ What role do these allusions play in the overall form of Requiem for the Living?
Suggested Supplemental Listening :
➔ Igor Stravinsky, Opedipus Rex (1927)
➔ ____________, Symphony Of Psalms (1930/1948)
➔ Benjamin Britten, War Requiem (1961)
➔ William Bolcom, Violin Concerto in D Major (1984
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