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The Requiem Mass (Totenmesse, Messe des Mortis, Messe des morts, or Missa pro defunctis), a mass honoring the dead, takes its name from the first Latin word of the Introit, which begins Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine (Grant them eternal rest, O Lord).

A musical setting of the requiem differs from the normal sung Mass in that it not only includes certain items of the ordinary mass and excludes others, but also includes the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion sentences from the Proper. The Gloria and Credo are omitted, and a Tract is substituted for the Alleluia. This is followed by the Sequence (Dies irae), which is often is a major dramatic element in the composition. Sometimes responses and other texts are added from the burial service, which usually follows directly after the Mass.

View the Wikipedia article on Requiem.

Settings by composers

This list is updated by hand. A more complete list ordered alphabetically is available at Requiems

Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above

Text and translations

The sequence of liturgical movements established in 1570 by the Council of Trent is as follows:

Because the funeral mass does not end with the usual dismissal but leads into the burial service, many composers have appended texts from the Office of the Dead:

The famous Requiem of Tomás Luis de Victoria is actually part of a larger Office of the Dead (Officium defunctorum), as Victoria has supplemented the basic Requiem with a lesson from the service of Matins (Taedet animam meam), a funeral motet (Versa est in luctum), and the Responsory from the burial service (Libera me).

The Gloria and Credo, normally part of the Mass ordinary, are omitted from the requiem on the grounds that such overtly joyful texts would be out of place in a Mass for the dead.

Before the Tridentine reforms standardised the propers of the Requiem Mass, some composers used alternative texts for some movements, e.g. Orlando di Lasso sets the Gradual text Si ambulem in medio umbrae mortis (Though I walk in the middle of the shadow of death). While French composers had often set the Sequence (Dies irae) in its own right, Jean Gilles, Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé did not set it at all in their Requiems. Hector Berlioz reshuffled and slightly altered the lyrics of the Sequence.

Second Vatican Council reforms

In 1970 substantive changes were introduced, most notably the omission of the sequence Dies irae (which is still permitted for some weekday masses before Advent). Alternatives were added in the Gregorian Missal:

Other stumbling blocks that arise from the use of old music with the Novus Ordo are the pauses for the spoken dialogues before the Kyrie and the communion antiphon; this has led to such abominations as letting the orchestra vamp on the last measures of Fauré's agnus during the Ecce agnus…Domine, non dignum dialogue.

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