Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Music (MM)



Document Type



Five Movements of a Requiem is a composition for orchestra, solo soprano, solo alto, solo tenor, solo bass and choir, and is approximately 20 minutes in length. To compose it, I’ve studied many different requiem masses from Renaissance polyphony to our days, works from Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Missa Pro Defunctis to Schnittke’s Requiem. In this study, I’ve tried to understand which techniques they used in their compositions, and how these techniques could be useful on helping me to express my own music. In Christian liturgy, Requiem masses are offered for the dead and the name is derived from the introit Requiem Aeternam, that translated to English would mean “eternal rest”. The Requiem mass has being a traditional compositional work that expresses the more important trends and styles of the Western music across the centuries. It has started with the vocal polyphony of Renaissance, passing through the first symphonic requiem models of the Viennese school of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. In the Romantic era the Requiem made his journey from the church to the concert hall, and finally on twentieth century it became tense, dissonant, modernist. At this point, it was even absorbed by the contemporary new medias, as for example in the non authorized use of Ligeti’s Requiem as soundtrack for Stanley Kubrik’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nine sections compose the liturgical structure of the requiem, but for my Masters thesis I’ve chose compose a symphonic work of five movements. The first movement, Requiem Aeternam, incorporates the Neo-Riemannian theory characteristics of parsimonious voice leading and voice intersections from Brahms’s Deutches Requiem, combined with the concepts of canonic structure of Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, and symmetric pointillism of Webern's Symphony Op. 21. In the second movement, Kyrie Eleison, I revisited the fugato compositional procedure of the Mozart’s Kyrie, but connected to my Brazilians roots. Influenced by the Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras, I utilize the Brazilian traditional rhythm of Marcha Rancho in the percussion section, combined with the use of dissonances in the vibraphone's chords as in Schnittke’s Kyrie. The third movement, Dies Irae, is full of polyrhythm and dissonances, and mostly based in the contemporary techniques learned from the study of the works of twentieth century composers, as such as Stravinsky, Schnittke, and Ligeti. The fourth movement, Tuba Mirum, is again the result of a combination of studies around the Mozart’s Requiem and Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras. But this time I also added Faure’s chords concept in the Introit of his requiem, and Schoenberg’s Sprechstimme to create a transition between sections. The final movement Rex Tremendae begins and ends with full vertical dissonant chords influenced by Stravinsky's and Schnittke’s Rex tremendae, but developing in a total different direction based on the 7/8 rhythm, combining all techniques used before, as such as retrogression, inversion, polyrhythms, vocal and instrumental polyphony, parsimonious voice leading, symmetric structures, pointillism, dissonances based in minor seconds and major sevenths, canonic and fugato structures.



Committee Chair

Constantinides, Dinos



Included in

Composition Commons