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Herbert Howells

Publisher: Novello & Co

Requiem (1936)
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
15 Minutes

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Programme Note
Herbert Howells Requiem (1936)
Salvator mundi
Psalm 23
Requiem aeternam 1
Psalm 121
Requiem aeternam 2
I heard a voice from Heaven

The Requiem grew out of sketches for Howells's acknowledged masterpiece - Hymnus Paradisi. This had a long gestation period between 1936 and 1950 when it was first performed, but not so long as this work which was only released in 1980.

The inspiration for this work, as for Hymnus, lay in the death at the age of nine of his only son Michael. It was an emotional and spiritual safety-valve for Howells who in this Requiem has created some of the most sublime music since Palestrina; and what can only be described as the vocal equivalent of Vaughan Williams's Tallis Fantasia.

© Paul Spicer

  • Ensemble
    Finzi Singers
    Paul Spicer
  • 20 JUN 2017
    St Magnus International Festival
    St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, UK
    Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Voices
    Tim Dean, conductor
  • 24 JUL 2016
    Three Choirs Festival 2016: Gloucester
    Cirencester Parish Church, UK
    The Bristol Ensemble
    Jonathan Hope, conductor
  • 10 MAY 2014
    Koningskerkje, Vierlingsbeek, The Netherlands
    Doulce Memoire
    Felix van den Hombergh, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24 May - English Church, Begijnhof 48, Amsterdam
    25 May - Oosterkerk, Komerkade 165, Haarlem
  • 04 AUG 2012
    Hong Kong City Hall, Concert Hall
    Hong Kong Bach Chamber Choir
    Nicholas Cleobury, conductor
  • 30 MAY 2012
    Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, new York, USA
    Westminster Choir
    Joe Miller, conductor
  • 14 JAN 2011
    La Coupole, Combs-la-Ville, France
    Robert Hollingworth, conductor

    Other Dates:
    15 January - La Grange au Lac, Evian, France
    16 January - Theatre Forum, Meyrin, Switzerland
  • 28 JUL 2010
    St. Mary’s Church, Park City, UT
    Utah Chamber Artists
    Barlow Bradford, conductor
  • 11 MAY 2010
    St Mary-at-Hill, London, EC3
    City Chamber Choir
    Stephen Jones, conductor
  • 08 MAR 2008
    Merton College, Oxford
  • 28 SEP 2006
    St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne, Australia
    Melbourne Chorale Ensemble
    Jonathan Grieves-Smith, conductor

    Other Dates:
    30 September - St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne, Australia
  • 15 JUN 2006
    National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
    National Chamber Choir
    Paul Spicer, conductor
  • 23 MAR 2006
    St Paul's Episcopal Church, Chattanooga, TN
    Choir of St John's College, Cambridge

    Other Dates:
    26 March - South Congregational Church, New Britain, CT
    27 March - St Paul's Episcopal Church, Troy, NY
    28 March - Christ Church, Greenwich, CT
    31 March - St Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, NY
  • 11 FEB 2006
    St John's College Chapel Services
    St John's College Chapel, Cambridge
    St John's College Choir and Clare College Choir
    David Hill, conductor
  • 09 FEB 2006
    St John's College Chapel Services
    St John's College Chapel, Cambridge
    St John's College, Cambridge
    David Hill, conductor
  • 30 NOV 2005
    Victoria Rooms, Bristol
    Bristol University Singers
    Glyn Jenkins, conductor
  • 15 MAY 2005
    St John's, Smith Square, London
    Vasari Singers
    Jeremy Backhouse, conductor
  • 03 DEC 2003
    Victoria Rooms, Bristol
    Bristol University Singers
    Glyn Jenkins, conductor
  • 22 NOV 2001
    St John's, Smith Square
    Giltspur Choir and Orchestra
    James Jarvis, conductor

In 1935, revered English master Herbert Howells lost his only son to polio at the age of nine, and dealt with his bereavement in music, as composer are wont to do. but the music was so intensely personal that Howells kept his boy's Requiem to himself, refusing to have it performed or published until nearly 40 years later, not long before his own death. It immediately became one of the handful of the twentieth century's most cherished choral masterpieces. ... It's quite simply THE deepest and most sublime artistic distillation of grief and spiritual comfort that I know...
Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper,31/05/2012
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