Having composed prolifically from 1842 to 1871, Verdi paused and wrote no opera until 1879, but in 1874 he wrote his one major sacred work, 'Requiem', in honour of poet Alessandro Manzoni. Verdi was not a particularly religious man, although in his latter years, up to his eighty fifth year he wrote some less well known sacred works, including a Te Deum, a Stabat Mater and an Ave Maria. In the Requiem, his operatic style shows through, often in the background, but sometimes explicitly in the foreground. It includes some of the music which he had already written for the last movement in a collective Mass for Rossini commissioned from a group of fellow composers.
The Verdi Requiem is a lavish, tuneful and appealing work, full of strong emotion, and today it ranks highly in the repertoire of 19th Century choral works.
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