for chorus and orchestraMusic Text
Liturgical (L); Haikus by Gozan, Issho, Hokusai, Kaga-no-Chiyo, Banzan (Japanese)Scoring
Optional soprano and treble soloists; Shakuhachi (or fl)-2hn-timp.perc(3):glsp/bamboo chimes/t.bell (lowest possible A)/surdo/darabuca/hi-hat/SD/mark tree/tamb/cyms/susp.cym/2 low floor tom-t/tgl/rainstick/BD/2tamt-t-harp-stringsAbbreviations
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.World Premiere
Southwark Cathedral, London
massed choirs / West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra / Karl JenkinsComposer's Notes
A Requiem is a Mass for the souls of the dead. In general I have set the usual Latin movements but in keeping with my usual trait of drawing from other cultures, I have also set five Japanese haiku
‘death’ poems. Such poems are usually to do with nature, have a single idea, and consist of seventeen syllables divided 5-7-5 over three lines. As one can see from the text, the Japanese view nature’s water cycle [precipitation] as being synonymous with life.
I have combined the Western and Eastern texts in two of the haiku
movements. Having Seen The Moon and Farewell
, which incorporate the Benedictus and the Agnus Dei respectively. Both are intoned by male voices in a monastic style as a counterpoint to the Japanese text sung by females.
The instrumentation of these haiku settings includes the ancient Japanese wind instrument the shakuhachi
. Elsewhere, as usual, I have used some ethnic drums [e.g. Arabic darabuca, Japanese daiko, frame drums] and even a hip-hop
rhythm in the Dies Irae!
The work is dedicated to my late father, a musician and an inspiration
This programme note may be reproduced in concert programmes with a credit to the composerPress Quotes
“…the ultimate in postmodern Requiems…”Music Week
"Jenkins's gift for writing solid melodies according to the mood of the text is profound."Choral Review
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