Take a few homeschool minutes today to introduce your students to a famous piece of Classical music by the great French composer Gabriel Fauré, born on this day in 1845.
Fauré’s Requiem is his most well known and widely performed work. A requiem is a piece of music composed for a Requiem Mass, a funeral mass in the Catholic tradition, and the name comes from the opening words of the service in Latin: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. (Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.)
Many of the great Classical composers, from Mozart to Bruckner, composed requiems based on the same text from the Latin Mass, and Fauré’s Requiem follows in that tradition. The whole work consists of seven movements and is about 35 minutes long. Here is the final four-minute movement, “In Paradisum,” which can serve as an introduction to the ethereal whole. It’s performed here by the Cambridge Singers, with the score shown so you and your students can follow along:
The Latin text of this part is: In paradisum deducant te Angeli: in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem. (May the Angels lead thee into paradise: may the martyrs receive thee at thy coming, and lead thee into the holy city of Jerusalem. May the choir of Angels receive thee, and mayest thou have eternal rest with Lazarus, who once was poor.)
Here’s a lovely performance of the whole piece by the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Danmarks Radio Symfoniorkestret), showing all the singers and all the sections of the orchestra at work. Turn up the volume and let it fill your home:
Finally, here is a complete educational performance of Faure’s Requiem in its natural habitat (Winchester Cathedral in England) with an introduction by Sir John Gielgud that provides background on the composer’s life, as well English translations at the beginning of each movement:
If you have very young students in your home, just put one of these pieces on in the background and mention that it’s by a famous French composer named Fauré, and that today is his birthday—and your little lesson is done. If you have middle-grades students, you can add that it’s a type music called a requiem and that the words are in Latin; many other composers have written requiems based on the same traditional Latin text. And if you have advanced music students, point them to this detailed analysis of the structure of the whole piece so they can get ready for their own performances:
What artistic discoveries have you made in your homeschool lately? Tell us in the comments! 😊