DISSERTATION: THE REQUIEM MASS AS CONCERT PIECE
This dissertation concerns the history and architecture of the requiem mass as a composition conceived and designed for concert performance. The overall academic format and design of this work includes five chapters and a score of the author’s own original requiem mass composition. Chapter one contains an historical overview and discusses how the mass (including the requiem mass) has evolved from traditional religious ceremony to complex musical performance piece. Chapter two provides a brief overview and analysis (limited to the “Introit” and “Kyrie” sections) of the requiem masses by Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, and Britten (which are the four most important contributions to the genre of the requiem mass as concert piece). Particular attention is paid to the use of counterpoint and chromaticism within these pieces, and how these two specific devices contribute to development of the timbral interplay and textural variation of the concerted style. Chapter three includes a survey of the state of the requiem mass as concert piece in Canada and analysis of relevant requiem masses by Canadian composers. Chapter four tackles the oppositional rubrics of “absolute music” and “programme music,” the grey area which exists between the standard definitions of these two concepts, and what the limits of absolute music are, including the use of vocal participants and text-setting. Finally, chapter five contains a thorough description of the author’s own original requiem mass composition. This latter component manifests itself in the form of a major compositional exegesis scored for full symphonic orchestra and mixed SATB chorus. It incorporates the standardized seven movements of the Latin text of the requiem mass – “Introit,” “Sequence,” “Offertory,” “Sanctus,” “Agnus Dei,” “Libera Me,” and “In Paradisum” – and has a duration of approximately sixty minutes.
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