© JEFFREY GAO 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Requiem for Strings 25’

 

Requiem for Strings was written to commemorate my mother’s passing two decades ago.  Through this piece, I am trying to convey grief, mourning, fear, anger, eventual acceptance of fate, and the wish of a better place for the loved ones we lost.


The first movement Introit (Entrance) opens with a sigh played by viola, as if one is too grief stricken to speak in complete sentence.  With the sigh, the music introduces the motive of  F# - G – B – C which permeates the entire piece. 

 

The second movement Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) begins the theme of “wrath” with the rhythmic motive derived from the Morse Code of “SOS.”  The middle section featuring solo violin is protagonist’s desperate plea.  With a series of trills and tremolos, the ensemble brings back the theme of “wrath,” ending the movement with a resounding statement by the low strings, signaling that the fate is all but sealed.   

 

Lacrimosa (Weeping) is perhaps the most vocal in quality among all the movements.  Its chorale styled opening section is a weeping lamentation.  The middle section is a duet between a single violin and a single viola.  In this intimate section, the music is evoking past memories of the loved one.  The music then returns with the full ensemble, this time the melody of lamentation reappears in a Gregorian chant like chorale.  The music ends with solo violin, once again, paying the last personal tribute.

 

The last movement In paradisum (Into Paradise) brings back the original motive.  It first appears in a harmonically complex setting, and eventually evolves to a much more tonal and peaceful version.  It gives the narrative of protagonist finally coming to terms with the passing of loved one and wishing that heaven does exist. 

III. Lacrimosa

IV. In paradisum

I. Introit

II. Dies Irae