Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Boyd, Malcolm. "Dies Irae: Some Recent Manifestations." Music and Letters 49 (October 1968): 347-56.

Amplification of Gregory 1953. Quotation of the Dies Irae has been overdone, but some modern works have enriched the symbolism grown around the ancient plainchant melody. Russia especially has most closely associated this melody with the death of a revolutionary hero. Khatchaturian, in his Second Symphony, uses it in the general expresion of mourning of the war 1914-1918. Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 3 lacks a program to explain the chant's presence. In Respighi's Impressioni Brasiliane, the chant portrays the physical characteristics and deadly qualities of snakes. Dallapiccola's Canti di Prigionia uses the chant structurally in an outcry against tyranny and oppression. Pierres and Stevenson use it for similar effect. Some borderline cases are Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead and Mahler's Second Symphony. A list (pp. 355-56) of some secular references to the Dies Irae is provided.

Works: Bantock: Macbeth (355); Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (347, 348, 355); Dallapiccola: Canti di Prigionia (351, 352, 355); Peter Maxwell Davies: St. Michael (355); Khatchaturian: Symphony No. 2 (348, 350, 355); Kraft: Fantasia Dies Irae for Organ (355); Liszt: Totentanz (351, 355); Mahler: Das klagende Lied (355), Symphony No. 2 (354, 355); Medtner: Piano Quintet (356); Miaskovsky: Symphony No. 6 (348-350, 356); Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death, #3 (356); Pierres: A Litany for the Day of Human Rights (352, 356); Pizetti: Requiem (348); Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead (353, 354, 356), The Bells (353, 356), Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (354, 356), Symphonic Dances (354, 356); Respighi: Impressioni brasiliane (351, 356); Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre (356); Schelling: Victory Ball (356); Sorabji: Variation upon Dies Irae (356), Sequentia cyclica (356); Stevenson: Passacaglia on DSCH (352, 356); Stravinsky: Three Pieces for String Quartet (356); Tchaikovsky: In Dark Hell (356), Suite No. 3 (356); Vaughan-Williams: Five Tudor Portraits (356); Bergman film: The Seventh Seal (356); Fernandel film: The Sheep has Five Legs (356).

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Jean Pang

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