Requiem for the Living
by Dan Forrest

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Feel the Spirit
by John Rutter

Spring 2015 Concert Notes

Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joseph Jacovino, Jr., Accompanist
Wendy Gerbier, Mezzo-Soprano
Connecticut Master Chorale Orchestra

Sunday March 29, 2015 - 3:00pm
First Congregational Church, Danbury, Connecticut

- Soloist - Concert Clips - Dress Rehearsal Photos - Concert Photos -
Dan Forrest

Dan Forrest
b. 1978

Requiem for the Living
– Dan Forrest

The Requiem for the Living is a memorable and most extraordinary Requiem, designed to bring comfort to the living. Dan Forrest has created a transcendent work that is lyrical, filled with drama, tranquility and hope, offering an inspiring perspective that projects all-enveloping peace and eternal light.

The prolific young composer states that his main purpose was to retain the traditional texts and place them into an appropriate modern setting that would make a lasting impression. His success has won international accolades from music critics who have referred to his "superb choral writing", described the work as "profoundly beautiful" and predicted it "will assume a place among the staples of grand choral literature".

Published in mid 2013, this outstanding composition has already been performed more than a hundred times in Canada, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, including multiple performances at Carnegie Hall. The work is Dan Forrest's largest piece to date, and was written over a period of 16 months in 2012-2013.


A Requiem at its core is a prayer for rest - traditionally for the deceased. The five movements of Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living, however, form a narrative just as much for the living, and their own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead. The opening movement sets the traditional Introit and Kyrie texts - pleas for rest and mercy - using ever-increasing elaborations on a simple three-note descending motive. The second movement, instead of the traditional Dies Irae, sets Scriptural texts that speak of the turmoil and sorrow which face humanity, while yet invoking musical and textual allusions to the Dies Irae. This movement juxtaposes aggressive rhythmic gestures with long, floating melodic lines, including quotes of the Kyrie from the first movement. The Agnus Dei is performed next (a departure from the usual liturgical order) as a plea for deliverance and peace; the Sanctus, following it, becomes a response to this redemption. The Sanctus offers three different glimpses of the "heavens and earth, full of Thy glory", all of which develop the same musical motive: an ethereal opening section inspired by images of space from the Hubble Space Telescope, a stirring middle section inspired by images of our own planet as viewed from the International Space Station, and a closing section which brings the listener down to Earth, where cities teem with the energy of humanity. The Lux Aeterna which then closes the work portrays light, peace, and rest - for both the deceased and the living. – Dan Forrest

John Rutter

John Rutter
b. 1945

Feel the Spirit
– John Rutter

Wendy Gerbier
– Mezzo-Soprano

Feel the Spirit is a cycle of seven beloved spirituals, arranged for chorus, mezzo-soprano soloist and orchestra by John Rutter. The eminent British composer's renditions of these traditional spirituals are inspired by the unique and distinctive sounds of American music from big-band and ragtime to the blues and more.

Rutter's selection includes Joshua Fit the Battle, Steal Away, I Got a Robe, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit, and Deep River, ending with a not-to-be-missed rousing rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In.