At last! I finished up “In Paradisum” last night after a full day of working on it. I started in the morning and just had momentum on my side. I wasn’t expecting to even come close to finishing until the ball got rolling. *Whew* That was a doosey.
Something interesting with this piece, it comes from the liturgy for the Requiem Mass. Now, I have no intention of writing a Requiem, but couldn’t resist this text. After studying the text, however, I decided to take a different approach then most composers taken to this piece. A lot of people see this as a text to declare to someone who has died and presumably on their way to Heaven through the afterlife. This is support by the Catholic idea of praying someone out of limbo and on to Saint Peter.
I can’t disagree that this text works for someone who has passed on already, but I wondered if it wouldn’t also bring comfort to the those are are yet alive but facing death in a very real sense. Those faced with a terminal illness or someone simply coming to the end of a long lived life must have questions about what happens when they close their eyes for the last time. Even for those with faith in an afterlife will at one point face questions about “is it really true?” “will I wake up with angels?” “will I really see my family and friends again?” Death can rattle a person whose days are numbered. This piece is meant to be a comforting testimony to them, as best as I know how to say it.
Well, now it’s time to polish the piece until it’s sparkling. Here’s a new page one: