Requiem for Walter (& Merchant Seamen)

for Soprano, Baritone, Choir and Orchestra

Composed : James Geoffrey Allan (1953- )

Written between 13th March 2019 and 16th April 2020

Requiem for Walter is dedicated to my father, Walter Lightle Allan, and to Sir Walter Raleigh (or Ralegh). My father died when I was only 8 years old (he was 35) and I wanted to commemorate his short life in this music.

Three of the movements are composed to Raleigh texts. The Psalm settings are all texts that mention the sea, as my father was a young merchant seaman in WW2. Raleigh's voyages are well known and I live near Sherborne and sang in the Abbey choir for 32 years.  Raleigh built Sherborne New Castle and will have known the Abbey well.

The movements alternate between the Latin of the Requiem Mass and the English of the Psalms and Raleigh texts. Scoring is for SATB choir (doubled in movement “2. Psalm 130, 107”), Soprano and Baritone solos. Orchestration 2fl, 2ob, 2cl, 2bn ,2hn , timp, tamtam str

Requiem for Walter opens and closes with settings of some of the Nunc Dimittis, lines 2,3 being repeated.

The germ of Requiem for Walter is found in the movement “10. Raleigh Epitaph” written by me in 1996 as an a capella setting. The first few notes of this setting (to the words "Even such is time") are similar in shape to the Gregorian chant setting of the Dies Irae. This motif recurs in several of the movements in some form or another. The choral parts of the orchestrated Epitaph are almost identical to the original a capella setting.

The two long notes on the bassoons at the beginning of the Requiem Aeternam and at the end of the Lux Aeterna represent a ship leaving harbour.

Requiem for Walter