Dies Irae


A Verdi Chorus


One of the most powerful pieces of music I know is Giuseppe Verdi’s setting of the Roman Catholic requiem mass.


It would have been especially powerful, I expect, to have heard Verdi’s Requiem performed by the prisoners in the Nazi concentration camp at Theresienstadt under the direction of Rafael Schächter, who was trying, symbolically, to communicate the circumstances at the camp to a Red Cross delegation that visited Theresienstadt in 1944.  I wonder whether the members of the delegation grasped the message.  I hope so.  One of the questions that occupied the minds of the inmates of the camps was whether anybody in the outside world knew and understood what was happening.


You can watch a great performance of the Requiem here.



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  • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

    I was planning on playing the Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem for my Sunday School lesson on the Second Coming tomorrow, but I think I like Verdi’s version better. Unfortunately, while it’s been sitting on my Amazon wish list for quite a while, I still don’t have a recording. May have to visit my local library this afternoon and see if I can borrow one.

    • DanielPeterson

      Sounds as if you have a very cool Sunday School lesson planned!

      • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

        Well, among other things there will be a potted pine tree; Dies Irae from Verdi (yes, my local library had it); the Hallelujah Chorus; and handouts of a talk by Elder Porter. Hate to give it all away because at least one other member of the class reads your blog.

        • DanielPeterson

          To the member of kgbudge’s Sunday School class who reads here:

          kgbudge has lied. There will be nothing from Verdi, no “Hallelujah Chorus,” and not a trace of any talk by Elder Porter. There will be a pot-bellied pig, but no potted pine. kgbudge has confided in me, by private note, that everything mentioned here is a joke. Wipe these things from your mind. Do not speak of them to anybody. Prepare to be surprised.

          • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

            Um, right. Yeah, I lied. That’s the ticket.

          • Scott Clark

            It’s not a lie, it’s just misdirection.

          • DanielPeterson

            How did it go? I was trying to lay down some cover.

          • http://kgbudge.com kgbudge

            Reasonably well, I think. I started by writing Frost’s Fire and Ice on the board, along with the message on a bumper sticker I once saw in Albuquerque, New Mexico: JESUS IS COMING. EVERYONE LOOK BUSY.

            Then I suggested some music to put us in the frame of mind for contemplating the Second Coming. Introduced it as a number well known to aficionados of classical music, though perhaps not so much in the Church. Told them to listen carefully. Hit “Play” with volume set on max and out came Verdi.

            We talked about that a while. There was some discussion of eyeballs melting in their sockets, that kind of thing. Great stuff.

            The potted pine tree sat in front of a poster of the Sacred Grove. I wanted a generic forest, but the Sacred Grove was all I could find in the standard Gospel Art files. The point: Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

            After some doctrinal discussion, I suggested we listen to some more music relevant to the Second Coming. I told the class this was another very popular number, better known in the Church than the first, with a rather different attitude than Verdi. Less attitude, you might say. Hit “Play” and out came Hallelujah Chorus. Yes, everyone in the class was familiar with that one.

            Suggested that we look past the dark forest to what lies beyond. Pulled down the forest poster to show the famous Second Coming poster of Christ with the angels. You probably know the one.

            Talked about the analogy of the Second Coming to a woman in labor. I discovered there were at least three women in the class who had given birth without benefit of pain killers. (We are not really a granola-ey kind of ward, but they sometimes surprise me.)

            Pulled out the potted pine tree again, and told the (possibly apocryphal) story of the Church leader who, as Joseph Smith’s 80th birthday was approaching, advised the Saints to plant a tree. We don’t know the timing; best get on with our lives and do all the things we ought to be doing anyway, including making plans for our grandkids. Elder Packer made a similar point more recently.

            Hope it provoked the kind of thought that the Holy Spirit can work with. I’m a pretty lousy teacher, but then I’m really just assisting a marvelous One.

  • brotheroflogan
    • DanielPeterson

      I like it very much, too. Also Mozart’s.