Christopher Rouse

Christopher Rouse

Mixed chorus (SATB), children’s chorus, baritone soloist & orchestra
DURATION: 90 minutes
TEXT: traditional Latin text of the Requiem interspersed with six poems that reflect the various ways in which death presents itself Requiem mass commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer Hector Berlioz.



New York Premiere
May 2014
Westminster Symphonic Choir
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Jacques Imbralio, baritone
Alan Gilbert, conductor
Carnegie Hall
New York, New York








One of the culminating events of Soli Deo Gloria's 20th Anniversary Season took place at Carnegie Hall in New York City on the evening of May 4, 2014, when the New York Philharmonic performed the SDG-commissioned Requiem by Pulitzer Prize-winning Christopher Rouse.

When the world premiere took place in Los Angeles in 2007, one reviewer had described it as "the first great traditional American Requiem."

Rouse’s is the first great traditional American Requiem... with trumpets pealing to summon the dead or, when God is described in all His majestic glory, with percussion storming the land and the chorus describing the indescribable … Under it all is a magnificent lyricism, which is the real Berlioz influence. Small, seemingly unimportantly melodic or rhythmic details swell into wildly unpredictable castles of glory.”—Los Angeles Times

“Beautiful…emotional…powerful…dramatic…peaceful. This is a Requiem that sets a standard for composers of the future while holding its own against compositions of the past.”—Sequenza 21, Contemporary Classical Music

Rouse Requiem at Carnegie Hall
Rouse Requiem at Carnegie Hall, May 4, 2014

Given Christopher Rouse's position as the composer-in-residence of the New York Philharmonic during the 2014-15 season, it was superbly fitting that Carnegie Hall launched the final season of its Spring for Music festival with a massive staging of Mr. Rouse's Requiem.

The New York premiere comprised the evening’s entire concert program; Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic through Rouse’s tour de force, alongside baritone Jaques Imbrailo, the Westminster Symphonic Choir directed by Joe Miller, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus directed by Dianne Berkun-Menaker.

The 90-minute work for large symphony orchestra, baritone solo, chorus and children’s voices was originally written for the bicentenary of Berlioz’s birth. With bold colors and violent mood swings, it is a 21st-century homage to Berlioz's Requiem, which Rouse considers to be “one of the most stupendous and imaginative of all such works, a unique example of the genre.” As for his own Requiem, Rouse describes it as “unquestionably, [my] magnum opus.”

"The predominant mood of Mr. Rouse’s 'Requiem' is one of uncomprehending grief and fury almost as if, bereft of faith, it were mourning the death of consolation itself. But then there are glimpses of hope."—The New York Times

"Rouse’s splendid work deserved the standing ovation at the end, proving that audiences are receptive to modern works that are this well-crafted and performed.—The Epoch Times

For further information and to hear excerpts from the world premiere archival recording, visit the Rouse Requiem "World Premiere."