On November 13, 1868, Gioacchino Rossini passed away at the age of sixty six.
Soon after his death, a group of prominent Italian composers, including Giuseppe Verdi, got together and planned to create a Requiem mass in Rossini’s memory.
Each composer would compose his own movement of the work and then those fragments would be combined into one collective piece. The project, however, fell through, but Verdi continued to toy away at the movement he had composed for the occasion, the Libera me, Domine.
Years later, he finally completed his own Requiem in 1873 and dedicated it to the memory of the Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni. The work was an immediate success and is considered by many to be Verdi’s masterpiece.
The Dies irae, a section of the Requiem Mass that depicts Judgment Day in every terrifying detail, is where Verdi truly unleashes his dramatic powers.
The chorus almost screams in hellish terror as trumpets blare in the distance to call the souls of the dead to prepare for the Last Judgment.