The premiere of Requiem, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s pivotal and most personal of compositions took place on February 24th 1985, before one thousand specially invited guests at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, New York.
The work, although a Latin Requiem Mass, was inspired by a tragic article Andrew read in the New York Times about a Cambodian boy who suffered under the Khmer Rouge and is also dedicated to his father, William Lloyd Webber, who had died in 1982.
Requiem is scored for chorus, three soloists (tenor, soprano and treble) and large orchestra. The premiere performance and album were both conducted by the American maestro Lorin Maazel, with soloists Placido Domingo, Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles-Kingston.
The 1985 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition went to Andrew Lloyd Webber for Requiem, and the accompanying album reached number one in the Billboard charts in the U.S. ‘Pie Jesu’ was released as a single in March 1985 and reached number 3 in the UK charts. It remains one of Andrew’s most popular works and has been covered by many artists such as Charlotte Church, Anna Netrebko, Marie Osmond and Katherine Jenkins.
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