Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Excelsus for solo Cello.
"Excelsus takes the form of a suite, each movement being based on a passage from the Requiem mass text. Although I spent many hours refining my interpretation of the words, the work is ultimately a more instinctive reaction to the evocative language of the excerpts. However, my stance was always totally atheistic, and this infiltrates everything from the mood, through the disregard for the text’s order, to the instrumentation (the use of a lone figure, which I viewed as a musical equivalent to the ‘first person’, offending against the liturgical norms which are concerned with people as a community).
Musically the entire work is based on two themes, one melodic (the Rex Tremendae or ‘King of Awful Majesty’ theme, which is heard at the very opening) and one chordal (the Lux Aeternum (Light eternal) chords, not revealed in their pure form until the pizzicato passage that concludes the suite). The order of
the movements is as follows:
Requiem Aeternum (Grant them eternal rest)
Kyrie (Lord, have mercy)
Tuba Mirum (Hark the Trumpet)
Sanctus (Holy, holy)
Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)
Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
Quid Sum Miser (What shall I, a wretch, say then?)"
- Cheryl Frances-Hoad