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Verdi: Requiem, Dies Irae

Here’s a hint: "an opera for the church" or "apocalypse wow!"

There might not be a precise medical phobia for the end of the world, but people have always latched onto the concept with both fear and, strangely enough, excitement. As terrifying as this harrowing setting of the “Day of Wrath” might be, we might have a hard time denying that it’s the, well, coolest movement in Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem. Verdi seems to have thought so to, as he returns to the “Dies Irae” section in shortened form throughout the work, sometimes in places where it isn’t in the liturgical text. The bombastic setting had first appeared in the concluding “Libera Me” section, which had been composed first, years earlier, for an abandoned requiem project commemorating Rossini. Ultimately, it found its place in the larger-scale work, composed in memory of Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni.

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