Aeternam – Bernat Vivancos

I have recently discovered the work of the Catalan composer Bernat Vivancos.  Here is “Aeternam” from the album “Vivancos: Requiem”. The sleeve notes describe this (a prelude to the Requiem proper) as “a stripping away in a face to face dialogue with God” which is exactly right.

More from Vivancos’ notes (available on the Neu Records site):

Requiem, ‘rest’ in Latin, is a song of contemplation of life, death and transcendence. For the structure of this “Requiem”, I did not wish to follow the texts that have been incorporated into the Catholic liturgy in the last centuries. The idea is that this prayer should be new, without linking it to any previously established canon. It is intended to be a luminous meditation on transcendence, in which a selection of open, plural texts and reflections responds to a non-confessional vision of the end of human existence.

I have divided this “Requiem” into three parts. Preceded by the intimate, transparent “Aeternam” –a stripping away in a face to face dialogue with God–, the first part speaks of life on earth with reference to what I consider to be the three essential pillars of mankind: goodness, love and prayer.

The melodic motif that appears throughout the Requiem is formed by three continuous descending tones. Though the Resurrection is generally expressed by an ascending movement, I wished to do the opposite here. It is not we who ascend to Heaven, but God who, in his goodness as our Father, forgives us and lowers his powerful arm to raise us up.

Comparisons to Tallis’s Spem in Alium are, in this case, apt:

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