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John Foulds

Publisher: Novello & Co

A World Requiem (1921)
Work Notes
The following list contains the full forces for which the piece is scored. However, the composer makes it clear that there is a degree of flexibility permissible in order to facilitate smaller performances. For instance, a smaller chorus and smaller orchestra can be used. Church performances are possible with just organ accompaniment. A condensed version of the score is available for this. The additional fanfare groups can be accomodated by the orchestra if unavailable.
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
1 Hour 29 Minutes
Small chorus of boys (8) and youths (8), SATB (at least 100, 100, 80, 80)
Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, 4 Violins
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Programme Note
John Foulds A World Requiem (1921)
A World Requiem, Op. 60 is a large-scale symphonic work with soloists and choirs. Written as a requiem and using forces similar in scale to Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony, the work calls for a full symphony orchestra, soloists, massed choirs including children's choirs, offstage instrumentalists and an organ.

Foulds wrote the work between 1919 and 1921, and conceived it as a memorial to the dead of all nations in the wake of the First World War. The text (in English), assembled by his wife Maud MacCarthy, to whom the score is dedicated, is not liturgical, though it uses sections of the Requiem Mass plus several other Biblical passages as well as excerpts from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, a poem by the Hindu poet Kabir and a few passages she wrote herself. There are 20 movements arranged in two parts of 10 movements each, though some movements are quite brief.

It was premiered under the auspices of the Royal British Legion on Armistice Night, 11 November 1923 in the Royal Albert Hall by up to 1,250 instrumentalists and singers.

Score Preview

  • Ensemble
    BBC Symphony Orchestra / BBC Symphony Chorus / Philharmonia Chorus / Crouch End Festival Chorus / Trinity Boys Choir
    Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Gerald Finley (baritone)
    Leon Bothstein
The orchestral sound was more often delicate than spetacular. When it did rise to a massive crescendo, the sound was radiant rather than ponderous, with a glow of horn and a sheen of glockenspiel and harp. [...] It was a work of amazing talent
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph,12/11/2007
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