Composer:   Herbert Howells
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   Novello
Edition:   NOV 29 0491
Voicing:   SATB
Setting:   A Cappella


Mary Kay Geston
Northwestern College 2003
R&R Chair College & University

Salvator mundi; Psalm 23; Requiem aeternam (1); Psalm 121; Requiem aeternam (2); I heard a voice from heaven (double choir writing in three movements)

Gorgeous and genuinely moving, the “Requiem” is English composer Herbert Howells’ musical and personal response to the loss of his son Michael at the age of nine due to spinal menengitis. Though it was composed in 1936, the composer didn’t make the “Requiem” available for publication until 1980 for personal reasons. Like Brahms’ “German Requiem,” Howells’ six-movement “Requiem” doesn’t use the standard liturgical requiem texts. The final movement, “I heard a voice from heaven,” uses the same Biblical text from the book of Revelation used by Brahms in the finale of his requiem. Movements I and III are in Latin, and movements II, IV and V are in English. A limited organ part is included for rehearsal; however, it was Howells’ intent that the work be performed unaccompanied. The composer indicated that movements I, II, III, and VI may be performed separately as anthems.