Sunday, March 19, 2006

Day of Wrath

Playing on the iPod is the "Dies Iræ" from Mozart's Requiem (see this post).

Dies Irae, which means Day of Wrath, is a famous 13th century poem describing the Day of Judgement, when the last trumpet will summon souls before the throne of God where the good will be delivered and the evil will be cast into eternal flames. The hymn was used as a sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass until the 1970 revision of the Roman Missal.
In Mozart's Requiem, the extensive medieval poem was condensed to these lyrics:

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.
Quantus tremor est futurus
Quando judex est venturus
Cuncta stricte discussurus


meaning

Day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the age in ashes
As David and the Sibyl bear witness.
What dread there will be
When the Judge shall come
To judge all things strictly.


Mozart finished the four part vocal score of the "Dies Irae", the instrumental bass, and the motivic portions of the instrumentation. Joseph Eybler wrote the instrumentation; later Sussmayr copied Eybler's instrumentation with some minor revisions.

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