Here’s my attempt to provide a clear “Dies Irae” rehearsal video:
The DIES IRAE “gives us a new conception of the powers of the Latin tongue” according to Dr. Samuel Duffield. Here are two exceptionally powerful lines:
Then will be brought out the book in which is written
the complete record that will decide each man’s fate.
And when the Judge is seated, all secret sin will be made known,
and no sin will go without its due punishment.
IT WAS QUITE COMMON in the 1940s and 1950s to accompany the Requiem Mass on the organ, in spite of legislation to the contrary. Dr. Daniel T. Politoske, who allowed us to borrow his copy of the NOH for scanning, once said to me: “If I had a dollar for every Requiem I sang and accompanied on the organ myself in those days, I’d be a rich man.” Many tried their hands at writing harmonies for the DIES IRAE, but the version by Msgr. Jules Van Nuffel is probably the best. I must admit that accompanying the DIES IRAE seems 100% incorrect, in my view. It takes away the “austere” and beautiful sound of voices alone. 1
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The 1953 book “Chants of the Church” (by the Monks of Solesmes) includes a version in modern notation with a translation by Msgr. Charles E. Spence.