'Requiem of Peace' to premiere at K.C. cathedral
By John Heuertz

.- The Requiem Mass has stimulated composers as varied as Mozart, Gabriel Faure and the modern English composer Herbert Howells. And now, a brand-new work inspired by the Requiem's traditional form will receive its world premiere at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City on November 5.

"'Requiem of Peace' is the title, and that title makes a very big difference to understanding what it's all about," says Dr. Mario Pearson, the Cathedral's music director and the new work's composer.

A Requiem's traditional purpose is to ask God’s mercy on the dead by granting them eternal peace. But Pearson's new work extends that prayer to the living – by adding a reminder to the traditional prayers that peace is still possible in our world today.

Lasting about 45 minutes, or roughly the performance time of a Romantic-era concerto or symphony, the "Requiem of Peace" is scored for a choir of about 40 voices and an 18-piece orchestra of strings with clarinet, French horn, chimes, tympani and piano.

Its 10 sections include the traditional seven sections of the Requiem and three extra sections: a setting of the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, a setting of the Dona Nobis Pacem, and an instrumental interlude written in memory of the victims of 9/11.

All ten sections are joined thematically by a recurring motif. "Sometimes it's taken up by the strings, sometimes by the choir, sometimes by the chimes, and so forth," Pearson says. "It just helps us be mindful of the whole idea, which is a sort of a musical plea for peace in this world."

Pearson was studying composition at Stetson University in Florida on September 11, 2001, "and that's where the whole concept for the Requiem of Peace came about," he says. "Seeing the chaos of 9/11 reminded me once again of the need for peace in this world."

It was a reminder to one who was already quite aware of the need for peace. Pearson was born and raised in the Archdiocese of Cape Town, South Africa, and saw first-hand from childhood what chronic violence does to a community and to a nation.

"I grew up living with a lack of peace," he says. "I remember, very well, me as a teenager playing the organ for so many funerals of teenagers and young children killed in the crossfires.

"Seeing first-hand the violence of the apartheid system as a child made me recognize the need for peace in the world. So actually, it's a very personal story too."

The November 5 service is a multi-media event. The music will be accompanied by PowerPoint slides, including slides of heroes for peace like Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The cathedral's choir, the diocesan choir, and the choir of Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral downtown will join forces for the performance, which is part of an ecumenical liturgical service of readings and hymns called "Requiem and Remembrance."

Pearson says its purpose is "to remember all of those who have gone before us in faith." He will conduct the ensemble and Canon John Schaefer, his counterpart at Grace and Holy Trinity, will be the organist for the service.

"It's a nice piece of music, very attractive" Canon Schaefer says. "It's very accessible to the listener, but also it very profoundly expresses what Dr. Pearson is trying to communicate."

Sr. Claudette Schiratti, the diocese's Associate Music Director, will be the pianist for the Nov. 5 performance. Monsignor Robert Gregory, Rector of the cathedral, and the Very Reverend Terry White, Dean of Grace and Holy Trinity cathedral, will co-preside at the service.

"The world is so full of contradiction, cynicism, division and animosity, and that's just in conversations between people," Msgr. Gregory says. "We hope the beauty of this music will touch people to be people of peace, and to remind people that peace is still possible in this world for those who seek peace."

There will be a candlelit procession to Grace and Holy Trinity for a reception after the service. Admission is free. "No one will be turned away," Dr. Pearson says.

November’s performance is the third annual choral collaboration between the two cathedrals. A free-will offering will be taken to help pay for the orchestra and to help fund another joint choral venture next year.

"I do hope that parishioners from all over the diocese will come and we have a packed cathedral to pray for peace," Pearson says.

"There are never enough occasions for people to do that. At least I hope that's what people take away from it."

Printed with permission from The Catholic Key, newspaper for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: