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Andrew Lloyd Webber's
Requiem is a requiem mass
written in memory of the composer's father, William
Lloyd Webber, who died in 1982. Many thought it a surprising
turn for such a populist composer as Lloyd Webber to produce a
piece of "serious" music, being his first and to date only
full-blown classical work. The music mixes Lloyd Webber's melodic
and pop-oriented style with more complex, sophisticated and (at
times) even austere forms. Lloyd Webber himself called the
Requiem "the most personal of all my compositions".
The work is scored for chorus, three soloists (tenor, soprano, treble) and a large orchestra that includes
organ, drum kit, and synthesizer. It was
written in 1984; its first performance featuring such major names
as Lorin Maazel,
Domingo, Sarah Brightman (Lloyd Webber's wife at
the time) and Paul Miles-Kingston. The piece
earned a largely negative critical reaction, many citing its lack
of true depth and musical unity as examples of the weakness of the
work. It is rarely performed today.
The best-known part of the piece, the "Pie Jesu" segment, was a minor "hit" and has
been recorded frequently outside of the parent Requiem,
including by Sarah Brightman.
The work won the 1986 Grammy
Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
- tenor, soprano, and treble soloists
- mixed choir (SATB) (performed with boy
sopranos and altos at the premiere)
- Woodwinds: 2 flutes (1st
doubling alto flute,
2nd doubling piccolo and alto flute), 2 oboes (1st doubling oboe d'amore, 2nd
doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (1st doubling E-flat
clarinet, 2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 saxophones (1st doubling soprano and tenor
saxophones and alto
flute, 2nd doubling alto and baritone saxophones and clarinet), 2 bassoons, contrabassoon
- Brass: 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 4 trombones
- Percussion: timpani
& 4 percussionists playing side drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, small, medium, large
and deep suspended cymbals, tambourine, deep military
side drum, small
ratchet rattle, glockenspiel, xylophone, gong, large gong, small bell,
bells, chimes, bell tree, wood block, congas, maracas, marimba, high rototom, drum kit
- Keyboards: piano doubling celesta, synthesizer (DX7), organ
- Strings: harp, violas, cellos, double basses
As is usual, Lloyd Webber did not set the Gradual and Tract texts of the Mass. He divides the
Sanctus between two
movements, including the Hosanna part with the Benedictus.
He does not set the Agnus
Dei. He includes the motet Pie Jesu and a text from the burial
service, Libera me.
- The Pie Jesu from the Requiem by Lloyd Webber combines
this text with that of the Agnus Dei from later in the Requiem. It was
originally performed by Sarah Brightman, who rerecorded the
track for her Classics album in
Church also recorded this version on her best-selling debut
album, Voice of an Angel as did Angelis, a children's
- Moe Koffman had
recorded the version on his recently re-issued album Music for
the Night with Doug
Riley and his orchestra in 1991.
- Swedish pop artist Håkan Hellström has repeatedly been
accused of plagiarizing this piece.