Arthur Gottschalk, Requiem For The Living

by Garrett Schumann, Composer


Work Background :


Not commissioned

      ➔ Gottschalk wrote his Requiem as a personal work, and began conceiving it in 2001 following

           the September 11th terrorist attacks


Classically Post-Modern

      ➔ 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

          mass text

                  ◆ 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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