Composer:   Ralph Vaughan Williams
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   Oxford University Press
Edition:   9780193388611
Voicing:   SATB
Setting:   Accompanied


Robert Scholz
St. Olaf College 1990
R&R Chair College & University

Published in 1936 on the eve of World War II, the Dona nobis pacem is a precursor of the Britten War Requiem and a powerful piece in its own right. Vaughan Williams has juxtaposed fragments of the Agnus Dei with poetry of Walt Whitman and John Bright and concludes with Biblical texts, mostly from the Old Testament Prophets and Psalms. The Dirge for two Veterans is one of the Walt Whitman poems which Vaughan Williams based a setting of his own from 1908. As a result, it can easily stand alone. The march is both strong and sad, and as the text relates, “pierces me through and through.”