Grade: Senior
Subject: Music

#3117. Agnus Dei -- Rutter and Fauré Requiems

Music, level: Senior
Posted Mon May 3 16:17:03 PDT 2004 by Marybeth K. Miller (
Wilmington Christian School, Hockessin, DE, USA
Materials Required: Selected CD, CD player, and handout and choral score for class
Activity Time: 1-2 class periods; assignment due later
Concepts Taught: Music Listening and Response

I am always trying to find ways to incorporate the other arts in my teaching. My high school choir keeps a listening log where they write informal responses and answer questions to different choral pieces that we listen to in class. Major assignments that I give once a marking period are basically an expanded version of a listening log entry. Students can work alone or in groups; I have done both but I would prefer to not grade 80+ essays, so they are working in groups for this activity. You need to introduce them to basic listening and responding BEFORE you give them an assignment like this. A listening log where they only have to write a couple of sentences is a good start. This takes the music a step beyond just notes and rhythms. These types of assignments are easy to create; especially good are compare/contrast topics with two different choirs singing the same song -- what's the difference? I have done these in class and the kids really like it. They grumble a little, but I only give one assignment per marking period, so they really can't complain. The handout for the kids is below.

Sr. High Chorus Assignment #2
Listening Music: Fauré Requiem, Rutter Requiem; Agnus Dei movements

Agnus Dei (Fauré)

Agnus Dei, Lamb of God,
qui tollis peccata mundi, that takes away the sin of the world,
dona eis requiem, grant them rest,
requiem sempiternam. rest everlasting.

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine May eternal light shine upon them, Lord,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, with thy saints everlasting,
quia pius es. because you are so merciful.

Requiem aeternam Rest eternal
dona eis, Domine, grant them, Lord,
et lux perpetua luceat eis. and may perpetual light shine on them.

Agnus Dei (Rutter)
*Rutter has added English text

Agnus Dei, Lamb of God,
qui tollis peccata mundi, that takes away the sin of the world,
dona eis requiem, grant them rest,
requiem sempiternam. rest everlasting.

*Man that is born of a woman I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord
hath but a short time to live, He that believeth in me
and is full of misery. though he were dead,
He cometh up, yet shall he live
and is cut down like a flower. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me
He fleeth as it were a shadow. Shall never die

In the midst of life
We are in death

But whom may we seek for succor?

A requiem is a funeral mass. It has at least five movements, sometimes as many as ten. Agnus Dei is a movement that asks God to grant eternal rest to the dead. In a two- to three-page typed essay, compare the two Agnus Dei movements by Fauré and Rutter, by answering the following questions according to our class discussion and your own opinion. ANSWER EVERY QUESTION.

The essay should be typed in 12-point size, Times New Roman font, and have no more than 1.25" margins at the sides, top, and bottom. Please make sure you check spelling and grammar. I will not accept papers that are not typed, as you will have more than a week to work on them, which is plenty of time to make sure that your printer works or to take it to another printer. As we listen and discuss in class, make sure you take detailed notes. I will try to provide an additional listening time for those who wish to hear the music again.

1. Describe the general mood of both movements.
a. Does that feeling or mood stay the same throughout the movement?
b. If not, how does it change, and why?
2. What are the feelings of the people singing the words in the two movements?
a. Are they speaking to God in the same manner?
b. Does God have the same character in the Fauré and the Rutter?
3. Why do you suppose John Rutter added the English words?
a. How does the music express these words? (through pitch, dynamics, etc.)
b. What is the significance of the phrase, "In the midst of life, we are in death. . ."? Why is it repeated?
c. Can you find verses in the Bible to agree with/disagree with the added words? (All but three lines are from the Bible)
4. Which movement do you like better? Why?