Requiem canticorum is a five-movement work of 12 - 14 minutes’ duration. Its title means "a Requiem of song" or "a Requiem of canticles" indicating that it is a commemorative piece which sets texts associated with the Requiem mass, rather than being a full Requiem. It is scored for choir, soprano saxophone and organ, a scoring it shares with the 'Son of God Mass' by the same composer.
It can be performed as a concert piece or as a free-standing anthem within the context of a commemorative event or liturgy.
‘Requiem canticorum’ can also be performed in conjunction with selected movements from the ‘Son of God Mass’ to make a full concert Requiem. The key-structure of the two works allows for a seamless intertwining and in concert should be performed in the sequence indicated below. When performed in this way, the sequence can be given the title 'Requiem' or 'Requiem Son of God Mass' in a concert programme.
Introit (Requiem canticorum) Pie Jesu (Requiem canticorum) Kyrie (Son of God Mass) Alleluia (Requiem canticorum) De profundis (Requiem canticorum) Sanctus and Benedictus (Son of God Mass) Pax Domini (Son of God Mass) Agnus Dei (Son of God Mass) Lux Aeterna (Requiem canticorum) Amen (Son of God Mass)
Additionally, some of the work can be used within a Requiem liturgy, the following movements having a liturgical place:
Introit (Requiem canticorum), until bar 68 Kyrie (Son of God Mass) Alleluia (Requiem canticorum) or De profundis (Requiem canticorum) Sanctus and Benedictus (Son of God Mass) Agnus Dei (Son of God Mass) Lux Aeterna (Requiem canticorum) and Amen (Son of God Mass)."There is real depth and sincerity to Whitbourn's writing, lending an atmosphere of solemnity and reassuring calm. The thick homophonic scoring and complementary modal flourishes from the Sax imbue the piece with an eastern ambience only occasionally brought back to western shores by the limited use of Organ. Low basses are essential but otherwise the choral writing is easily approachable." - Rupert Gough, Choir & Organ