Today is All Souls’ Day, the day in the Christian calendar dedicated to the remembrance of the dead. Throughout churches in the UK and further afield, choirs will be singing Requiem Masses. I will be taking part in a liturgical performance of Fauré’s Requiem myself. It will be a solemn occasion.
But remembering the dead doesn’t have to be a joyless affair. This is my major-key recomposition of Fauré’s ‘Libera me’ (‘Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day’). It stems from a simple modal substitution and incorporates Rutter-style harmonic slushiness. It would be falsely humble of me to claim that this isn’t an improvement on the original. You will come to that conclusion without my aid anyway. A song about the day of fiery judgement seems to demand a warmer treatment than Fauré provides, hence the necessity of this revised version. I think we’re going to stick to the original in our performance this evening, but that’s the C of E for you, shamefully hidebound. Enjoy!