Manuscripts of Requiem by foreign composers in the Vilnius libraries’ funds: an overview of 19th – beginning of 20th century sources

  • Laima Budzinauskienė
Keywords: Vilnius libraries’ funds, 19th century, beginning of 20th century Requiem, manuscripts, notes


Among numerous genres of sacred music (such as chorales, hymns, motets, masses, etc.), Requiem, or otherwise Missa pro defunctis, Missa defunctorum (Mass for the Deceased) stands out. It is the Mass for the Deceased, corresponding to the Roman Catholic Missal, that is celebrated mainly during the funeral. Over time, Requiem has become a vocal-instrumental genre, a composition associated with the theme of death and mourning. In the 19th century, two principal forms of the genre of Requiem co-existed: a proud, concert-type form, heavily influenced by secular music, and a more modest, reserved, and more “traditional” liturgical one. The latter was smaller in scope, written for a more modest composition of performers in a simpler music language and of a non-dramatic character. The development of the liturgical Requiem over the period in question was largely affected by the Cecilian Movement, active also in Lithuania. True, it is also possible to discuss an intermediate link between the concert and the liturgical types of Requiem – a concert-type vocal-instrumental Requiem, which could also be performed in liturgy. The paper focuses on the manuscripts of the Requiem compositions re-written in the 19th century that were once performed in churches of Vilnius and other cities of Lithuania and currently are stored in in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and in the Manuscript Department of the Vilnius University Library. These are copies of the Requiem compositions by the following authors: Gioacchino Albertini (1748–1812), Josef Becher (1821–1888), Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842), Max Filke (1855–1911), Joseph Gruber (1855–1933), Lambert Kraus (1728–1790), Antonio Rosetti (1750–1792), and Johann Baptist Schiedermayr (1779–1840).