Donald Swann
1923 - 1994
Great Britain, Wales
Picture Picture
D.I. Swann
Donald Ibrahim [Donald] Swann (30/09/1923 - 23/03/1994), a Welsh composer of Russian origin, born in Llanelli (Wales). He composed a lot of songs together with Michael Flanders (1922 - 1975), an old schoolfriend and writer / poet.
Requiem for the living
Composed in:1970
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Cecil Day Lewis
Label(s):Plant Life Records 1984
Requiem for the living (1970), written by Cecil Day Lewis & Donald Swann for piano, speaker, solo mezzo-soprano or baritone, percussion, cimbalom, and SATB choir. Duration 35 minutes. C. Day Lewis' poem was first published in THE GATE in 1962. This highly original re-interpretation of the Requiem Mass is a vivid plea for men to abolish nuclear weapons and to respect the beauty of the world, which they threaten to destroy. Cecil Day Lewis (1904 - 1972) was one of the leading British poets of the 1930s. The Requiem contains:
01. Requiem
02. Kyrie eleison
03. Dies irae
04. Offertorium
05. Sanctus
06. Benedictus
07. Agnus Dei
08. Lux aeterna
09. Responsorium
The lyrics are from Cecil Day Lewis' poem, "The Gate', and retain the titles from the Catholic requiem mass, but little of the blind faith. Instead the theme is about sparing the living from the immediate threat of mass annihilation from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Sympathetic to this concern or not, the music is still a challenge and it is no mindless agitprop rant. Time- and key-signatures are used to awesome effect, but may put off the unwary. Stick with it; you'll get more out of it than the hippopotamus song.
C. Day Lewis