Pioneer Valley Cappella's fall 2019 program features Fauré's glorius Requiem in D minor, in a new, lighter orchestration. While some critics assert that Fauré was inspired by the death of his parents, Fauré himself wrote “My ‘Requiem’ was composed for nothing; for fun, if I may be permitted to say so.... Perhaps, instinctively, I sought to break loose from convention. I’ve been accompanying burial services at the organ for so long now! I’ve had it up to here with all that. I wanted to do something else.”
The setting is indeed original, reflecting Fauré's ambiguous religious beliefs and discomfort with traditional Christian notions of damnation. The Dies Irae—"Day of Wrath" is reduced to its final verse, the Pie Jesu—"Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest;" and the final movement, In Paradisum—"may angels lead you to paradise"—is taken from the burial mass. (Of the former, his teacher and dear friend Saint-Saëns declared “just as Mozart’s is the only Ave verum corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu.”)
Fauré's words from 1921 clarify his intent—“everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”
As a companion piece, we will perform a haunting and exquisite contemporary a cappella work, "Some Thoughts on Keats And Coleridge," by the American composer Earl Kim.