Testi, contesti e funzioni: struttura musicale e retorica della morte nel requiem francese del primo Ottocento
In France, during the eighteenth century, the history of the requiem intersects with a teleological concept of the art of dying that climaxed in the traumatic events of the 1789 Revolution. The paper investigates how the spirit of the Bourbon Restoration influenced the requiem in the post-revolutionary era and the progressive separation of the requiem from its characteristic liturgical function. The paper analyses two specific cases: Cherubini’s Requiem in C minor (1817), composed for the anniversary of the execution of Louis XVI, and Berlioz’s Grande Messe des morts (1837), an example of a monumental funeral mass in which the musical experience prevails over the liturgy. Using analytical examples, the paper examines: the compliance of each requiem to the liturgy (from a structural perspective); its adherence to the expressive and semantic level of the holy text; and the musical translation of specific words, verses and sentences.