Rus Articles Journal

Requiem. What is it?

In the world everything increase memorable sad days and memorials. Perhaps, what increases - only seems because the mankind learned to fix memorable tragic dates at least formally. And still - too often we hear about the tragedies which happened somewhere (and it “somewhere“ - nearby). Also it is impossible to do without tragic subjects now.

It was impossible earlier. For tragic events whether they concerned only one person, or the whole people, there was the burial service. It was created in Catholic church for a long time - there passed many centuries, but not only did not lose the value, but also left a framework of church service, lost the ceremonial character. But did not lose a deep meaning.

In orthodox church there is the tradition of a burial service - memorial service . In Catholic and Lutheran church this service is called the requiem (“Requiem aeternam“ - “eternal rest“). The orthodox church was limited to strict lines of human voices and did not involve sound of musical instruments, within Catholic services both the body, and the whole symphonic orchestra could sound. It is a question of cultural tradition. But within Catholic temple with its tremendous acoustics and joint sounding of a human voice and tools the first majestic musical masterpieces were created.

As a result - the requiem “appeared“ church and became an independent genre (if it is possible to be expressed so). It changed and language. Initially writing of music of the requiem was possible only on the initial Latin text in rather strict compliance of parts.

The most known parts of the requiem - Kyrie eleison (“My God, pardon! “), Dies Irae (“Day of wrath“, or “Doomsday“), Agnus Dei (“lamb of God“). But subsequently texts undertook composers “family“ - that is the same bible, but in the language - German, English. There is already a Requiem in Russian, on orthodox texts, but about it slightly later.

Many centuries requiems represented the Gregorian chorals called so in honor of the father Grigori I to whom the authorship of the most part of chants is traditionally attributed (Grigori I or Gregory Dialogos is esteemed both in orthodox, and in Catholic church). The first requiems written by professional composers belong to the 16th century. Not less than 2000 requiems are so far written - and among them there are world masterpieces: Verdi`s requiem, German requiem of I. Brahms, “the Military Requiem“ of Benjamin Britten, “The Polish requiem“ of Krzysztof Penderecki. But among thousands of requiems the most known belongs to Mozart`s feather.

the Riddle of the Requiem of Mozart

Even the person, far from music, has an idea of the certain secret surrounding history of creation of this requiem. Who was this “The black person“ who ordered to the composer a burial service and whether there was he in general? Why Mozart died, without having finished the ingenious work? What role was played by Salieri?

Myths continue to live, disputes continue too. And Mozart`s music just sounds and will always sound - so much how many to live to mankind.

By the 20th century the word “requiem“ ceased to belong only to music. It entered into poetry, literature, cinema, painting.

Anna Akhmatova`s Requiem

Ya was then with my people,

Where my people, unfortunately, were

(Anna Akhmatova. The requiem)

Anna Akhmatova`s Requiem - the grandiose poem on scope reminding the multiprivate musical poem. It is devoted to the victims of repressions, including - to close people.

Took away you at dawn,

For you as on carrying out, went,

In a dark room cried children, the candle became swollen

At a bozhnitsa.

On your lips cold of an icon,

Mortal sweat on a forehead... Not to forget! I as streletsky zhenka,

Under the Kremlin towers to howl
Will be


Greatness of this poem - the requiem that here Akhmatova through a personal grief comprehends all the famous tragedy of the whole people.

By the end of the 20th century more and more authors address the requiem. Perhaps, many remember V. Pikul`s novel “The requiem to PQ caravan - 17“ which is devoted to courage of seamen of the anti-Hitlerite coalition. At the end of the last century there was a movie which called “cult“ at once - “The requiem for dream“ of the American director Darren Aronofsky. Then there is a collection of the American fantast David Zindell - “The requiem for Homo Sapiens“. It would be desirable to believe that the requiem mass according to Homo Sapiyens will never sound on this planet …

the Requiem does not leave also music anywhere. In the 21st century several tens requiems are written. There is also “The Russian requiem“. His author is the American pianist and the Russian poetess, the native of Chelyabinsk (1973) and the resident of the USA Valeria (Lera) Averbakh. This requiem is written in 2007, its basis was formed by initial orthodox texts, and also verses of A. Pushkin, M. Lermontov, A. Akhmatova, I. Brodsky, G. Ivanov, Z. Gippius, A. Blok, B. Pasternak and other poets. This requiem sounds, respectively, in Russian, it was executed already in many countries, in Russia - no yet...

None of us are insured from a personal grief. But it would be desirable that headline news were not reminded by military - in the form of the list of losses. There is no wish to feel like the inhabitant of Africa to the south of the Sahara - exactly there ferries most often sink and planes fall.

And the requiem - it all the same will remain in human culture. As there is a human memory and human ability to empathize the tragedy.