Observations on Faure’s “Requiem”

Observations on Faure’s “Requiem”

The term ‘mass’ defines the gathering of God’s people to engage in “the source and summit of Christian life.” Even early Reformers , particularly Luther, still referred to their newly structured worship experiences as masses. A “requiem” is a particular mass; one enacted for those who have gone from this life into eternity.

Our Good Friday service this year (at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary) is by no means a replica of early Christian liturgy, nor is it meant to copy the Roman Catholic mass.

In fact, the music itself is missing the text used in many elements of a traditional “Requiem Mass for the Dead.” This will be a service of remembrance intended as a reflection on the death of Jesus Christ.

The Faure’ Requiem in D Minor serves as the musical centerpiece of our service. ¬†Reflective, pensive, and even hopeful, this well-loved masterpiece offers a beautiful lullaby of death that points us toward the resurrection.

The scripture readings that punctuate each movement of the service are designed to help you contextualize the music with the Good Friday narrative. While we tend to consider gatherings on this occasion more as “Black Friday” services, where the pain of the cross is illuminated, this service points us toward the undeniable hope of the resurrection that lies ahead.

Hopefully, Faure’s music will help us to see the “good” in Good Friday.

This work, like virtually all pieces of its kind, is written with the traditional Latin text of the mass. Translations will be provided so that the listener may reflect on the piece’s meaning and personal thoughts about Christ’s passion. ¬†Perhaps each listener will imagine what Jesus felt in the moment his pain ceased and he rested in his Father’s arms.

Because, as the disciples were soon to discover, after the strife of Good Friday comes the joy of Sunday. We pray that you anticipate the celebration that is Easter Sunday and the joy of God’s grace made evident in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.

–written by Dr. Daniel Gordon, Director of Fine Arts