The writing of a Requiem is a special challenge for any composer. The great Requiems of the past by composers such as Mozart, Verdi, Fauré and Duruflé interpret the sacred Requiem text literally, and represent a prayer for the salvation of the departed soul(s). Howard Goodall s Requiem, by contrast, is intended to provide solace to the grieving. The composer said, For me, a modern Requiem is one that acknowledges the terrible, unbearable loss and emptiness that accompanies the death of loved ones, a loss that is not easily ameliorated with platitudes about the joy awaiting us in the afterlife. ... Musical expression can I hope provide some outlet, some reflection, some transportation, even some comfort....This was to be a Requiem for the living, a Requiem focussing on interrupted lives.
Commissioned by Mark Stephenson on behalf of London Musici to celebrate the orchestra s 20th anniversary, Eternal Light: A Requiem is a stand-alone choral work that will have its London premiere in November 2008 in an exciting collaborative version for choir, soloists, orchestra and dance. The dance, Eternal Light, commissioned by Sadler s Wells Theatre, will be performed by Rambert Dance Company, its associate orchestra London Musici and Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford. Rambert Dance Company and its artistic director, Mark Baldwin, worked closely with Howard Goodall from the conception of the project to find ways in which the themes of the Requiem might be explored further in dance.
Three other choral works by Howard Goodall are also included in this CD: his setting of Psalm 23, well known as the theme tune of the BBC s Vicar of Dibley series; Love Divine, a hymn of praise set to Charles Wesley s reassuring, open-hearted words; and, finally, Goodall s setting of Spared, Wendy Cope s poem capturing the feelings of many people following the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001. [The work] acts, I hope, as a fitting companion to Eternal Light: A Requiem.
CD London Musici/Stephen Darlington