(Requiem Aeternam from the Howells Requiem. Sung by Egregor. To be performed by the Washington Collegium under the baton of Benjamin Hansen on the 19th of July, at 7:30 PM, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill.)
Like his mentor, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells was born to the English gentry class. As a boy he went studied music at the Gloucester Cathedral in the same class as the famous British entertainers Ivor Novello and Ivor Gurney. As a young man he was diagnosed with Graves Disease and told he had six months to live. However, a successful operation gave him another seventy years of life.
(Salvator Mundi from the Howells Requiem. Sung by the Blenhein Singers directed by Tom Hammond-Davies. To be performed by the Washington Collegium under the baton of Benjamin Hansen on the 19th of July, at 7:30 PM, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill.)
But when his son died of polio in 1935 at the age of nine, Howells began work on a series of works for unaccompanied chorus that would eventually comprise his Requiem. They were not published in their entirety until 1981 and but for the pleading of Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1950 these works would have never been shown to the public.
It was perhaps because of Howell's intimate experiences with death that he created one of the two most famous musical memorials for the death of John F. Kennedy. His choral anthem, Take Him Earth For Cherishing, a masterpiece in the consoling vein of his Requiem.
(Take Him Earth for Cherishing. Sung by the University of Wisconsin Eau Concert Choir directed by Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff)