Karl Jenkins: Requiem

Any composer attempting to write a Requiem must immediately feel very conscious of how many of history’s greats have composed in this idiom.

From Mozart to Verdi and Fauré to Berlioz, an illustrious list of composers have all triumphed with their moving, exquisite and often gargantuan requiems.

Step forward Welsh music master Karl Jenkins – who, in 2005, decided it was time to add his name to this collection. Jenkins’s Requiem absolutely fits into his unique and distinctive style. As with all of his major works, it’s an unashamed melting pot of musical styles. In keeping with tradition, Jenkins chose to set the traditional Latin text of the Requiem Mass. He makes a nod in the direction of the conventional, while still including a few surprises along the way. In the case of his Requiem, it’s the use of Japanese haiku poems, which, just like the Latin text, focus on the subject of death. The line-up of musicians also includes a shakuhachi (a Japanese flute).

Recommended Recording

Nicole Tibbels (soprano); Sam Landman (treble); Catrin Finch (harp); Serendipity (choir); Côr Caerdydd (choir); Cytgan (choir); West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Jenkins (conductor). EMI Classics: 7243 5579662.

Illustration: Mark Millington