Requiem, for boy soprano, soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra
Wilson, Mark E
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Requiem, for boy soprano, soprano, baritone, chorus, and full orchestra, was composed in honor of my mother and brother, both of whom passed away in the final fourteen months of my doctoral studies. The work highlights much of the traditional requiem text while incorporating Biblical texts as well as excerpts from Mary Sydney Herbert's, O. The work lasts approximately 40 minutes and utilizes six movements from the standard canon - Introit, Kyrie, Dies Iræ, Agnus Dei, Lux æterna, and In paradisum. The genesis of this work initially envisioned a child soprano portraying a young version of the female soprano, intended to represent my mother as a child - the progression of an individual from childhood to adulthood almost conversing with each other. Unfortunately that vision changed when my brother passed away while in the early stages of composition. It is a powerful image, reminder, and homage to depict the young boy soprano as my brother alongside my mother, the soprano, in the company of the Lord, performed by the baritone. Requiem opens with the Introit, which provides the tonal center of C# for the first and fourth movements. This contributes an important structural element, rather foundation, on which the work revolves. Following the Introit is the Kyrie, which features the solo soprano highlighting the text of Herbert in addition to Kyrie Eleison - Lord have mercy. Immediately contrasting the simple, open sonorities of the Kryie, the Dies Iræ is empowering in tone. Dense textures, colors, and harmonies create a tension heightened through the interaction of the baritone against the full orchestra and chorus. The Agnus Dei provides a feeling of repose with rhapsodic and chant-like qualities, underscoring the boy soprano in stark contrast to the full chorus with a brief response from the soprano. Following the Lux æterna is orchestrated similarly to the Kyrie focusing on strings and percussion with the addition of a few of the woodwinds to accompany the female voices and baritone. Lastly, the In paradisum brings us back, not fully, to the somber yet empowering mood of the opening Introit, coupled with the air of trills and sonorous clusters.