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Gareth Valentine
1956 -
Great Britain, England
Picture Picture
G. Valentine
Gareth Valentine (22/11/1956), an English composer and Musical Director of many West End and European productions such as Chicago, Merrily We Roll Along, Kiss Me, Kate, Company, Kiss Of the Spider Woman, Miss Saigon and others.
Valentine, who studied voice with Sir Peter Pears in the late 70's, has just released a set of Christmas carols on England’s Herald label. Planning to specialize in liturgical writing, he is currently composing a Missa Brevis.
Mainly, however, Valentine writes for musical theatre in England. His history includes involvement in almost 25 West End productions as musical director, arranger or performer. Credits include composing all the dance music for Kiss Me Kate (Royal Shakespeare Company), and London performances of Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Cabaret, Company 42nd Street, Chicago (with Chita Rivera), Miss Saigon, Merrily We Roll Along, and Kiss Me Kate (Broadway principal cast).
Composed in:1993
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:those who have died from AIDS
Label(s):Jay Productions CDTER 1258
Requiem contains:
01. Introit
02. Kyrie Eleison
03. Recordare
04. Lacrymosa
05. Pie Jesu
06. Offertorio
07. Sanctus
08. Agnus Dei
09. Lux Aeterna
10. Libera Me / Requiem
11. Nunc Dimittis
Source:booklet of cd Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 01. Introit
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 02. Kyrie Eleison
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 03. Recordare
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 04. Lacrymosa
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 05. Pie Jesu
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 06. Offertorio
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 07. Sanctus
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 08. Agnus Dei
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 09. Lux Aeterna
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 10. Libera Me / Requiem
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258

♫ 11. Nunc Dimittis
© Jay Productions CDTER 1258
Valentine: "My Requiem was liturgically celebrated on May 15th 1993 at Southwark Cathedral, London. It was written as a visceral response to the grim swathe of AIDS which has touched almost everyone I knew at that time, one way or another. The Cathedral was packed and next to me sat my partner Mike, himself infected with HIV and recovering from radiotherapy. He was gravely ill but managed to be at my side for this monumental service at which he took his first, and last communion. I shall never forget the response after he had consumed the body and blood - "Will I be alright now?" I answered yes. He died on August 15th that year with his family and friends at his bedside and, yes, as a Christian, I truly believe that he is alright now.
This Requiem is dedicated to him and to all those who live under the shadow of HIV. Since the advent of AIDS, untold number of gay men have died, but overwhelmingly the problem is rooted in the Third World, much of the globe being affected still greatly. This recording is one of a myriad of efforts by the community to raise awareness for funding in the HIV and AIDS field. In buying this CD you contribute to those deep and worthy coffers for which I am personally grateful."

Valentine: "I wrote the piece as a musician, as a gay man and as a Christian. The format of the Requiem seemed to be the only thing that would encapsulate all these things beautifully. It’s a very majestic liturgy and this would be my contribution."
Author:Gareth Valentine
Why should the sounds and accents of musical theatre not also be used to celebrate a Mass? Just as Verdi and Rossini are always accused of writing operas in their large­scale religious works‚ so perhaps some will find Gareth Valentine’s Requiem‚ first performed at Southwark Cathedral in 1993‚ too close to the sound of the West End or Broadway. Valentine writes that it was composed as a ‘visceral response’ to the Aids epidemic‚ which already by then had claimed many of his friends and colleagues.
This recording is dedicated to all those living under the shadow of HIV and those who have died of Aids. Everyone involved in the project donated their services‚ and proceeds from the sale of the CD will go towards a specific Aids charity. The traditional Latin text is used‚ augmented by a final prayer in English‚ sung by the choir. The music seems to be influenced by other alternative versions of sacred and secular Latin verse‚ the Missa Luba‚ some of Orff’s works maybe.
The ‘Kyrie’ starts almost as a lullaby‚ sung by the soloists and choir unaccompanied‚ but then joined by an increasingly elaborate accompaniment with tambourines. The ‘Recordare’ is launched by a boy treble; jaunty‚ and punctuated by a piano­and­percussion accompaniment that seems to suggest a journey‚ it is rather like music for a hopalong cowboy sequence. The ‘Lachrymosa’ is opened by the two sopranos – a definite echo of Lakmé here – but ends with a curious‚ questioning motif. We are plunged backed into an almost balletic mood by the ‘Pie Jesu’‚ a surging melody taken up by the soloists from the piano solo. In the ‘Offertorio’ the choir lead off with a simple opening‚ but then again a dance­like melody intrudes‚ sung by tenor and soprano at ‘Tu suscipe’. The choir are left unaccompanied for the ‘Sanctus’ – the least sentimental­sounding section. Although the stars of the performance are the voices of London Oratory Schola Choir‚ the four soloists are all in good form‚ with the ‘Libera me’ divided up between them.
The composer conducts with excellent support from the two pianists‚ Ian Townsend and Nick Finlow‚ and the recording is warm and happily without any added churchy presence. As Kathleen McGuire‚ conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus‚ who gave the American première of the Requiem in 1997‚ writes‚ Valentine’s Requiem is both ‘personal and universal’.