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The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

Masterworks Concert 2024: “Requiem”

Traveling the path from death to paradise with the Biola Chorale
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Jason Lee

The Biola Chorale performed at Lancing Recital Hall for the Masterworks Concert, its final performance of the Spring Semester, on April 14 at 6 p.m. The group performed several pieces from their performance on March 8 at the American Choral Directors Association Western Region Conference, as well as other choral music pieces.

REQUIEM

The centerpiece of the concert was the performance of “Requiem”, a nine-movement musical composition created by Maurice Duruflé. It uses the Latin text of the “Requiem Mass” (a Catholic Mass for the Dead), with many of its musical themes based on Gregorian chants. The entire piece is sung in Latin.

The Biola Chorale and Symphony Orchestra joined together to traverse through a wide range of emotions and themes. It goes from the gentle requests to the Lord to give rest to the dead; to tense and haunting descriptions of Jesus, the King of Glory, delivering souls from darkness and hell; to the triumphant exclamations of the glory of the Lord of Hosts. It climaxes into the dooming chants describing the day of judgment “when the heavens and earth shall be moved,” and then rests into a light melody that shows the final fate of the dead: in paradise with the martyrs and angels in eternal rest.

The “Requiem” is a piece that explores the idea of faith and glory despite the weightiness of death. It utilizes a sacred procession to tell a story that combines the pleas of the present and the promises of the future into one vision of what death means to Christians. There is little mention of sorrow for the dead in any of the nine movements and instead lifts the curtain to reveal there is a greater reality at play. At times, it almost celebrates those who have left this world to join the church triumphant.

IN FACE OF DEATH

During the introductory remarks before the performance, the speaker commented, “In this tumultuous time we live, with our ultimate hope in the redeeming work of Jesus, we hope you’ll find this work beautiful and comforting as it covers you in a blanket of peace.”

With the many conflicts going around the world, and word of death brought up daily, it can be easy to become discouraged and anxious. However, pieces such as “Requiem” are reminders that one does not have to be hopeless in the face of death, especially for the Christian, who knows that death is not the end, but the beginning of everlasting triumph.

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Jason Lee
Jason Lee, Staff Writer
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