An American Requiem

by Chris Massa

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For all flesh is as grass, and all the victory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. — 1 Peter 1:24, King James Version
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. — Matthew 5:4, King James Version
Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later delicate death. … Approach strong deliveress, When it is so, when you have taken them I joyously sing the dead, Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee, Laved in the flood of thy bliss, O death. —Walt Whitman (1819-1982) from "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d"
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doth go, Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die. — John Donne (1572-1631)
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. He shall convert my soul, and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Thou shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them that trouble me; thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full. Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. — Psalm 23, The 1928 Book of Common Prayer
When our earthly sun is setting, and its glory fading fast; When our life’s long looked for evening with its shadows comes at last; Chorus: Oh! ’tis glorious, Oh! ’tis glorious, To enter in the sweet refrain, Oh! ’tis glorious, Oh! ’tis glorious, To know we’ll meet again. When the tear-drops fast are flowing, and our hearts are torn with grief; When for all our sorrows, vainly we attempt to find relief; When the cold sweat of the dying hangs in drops upon our face; And a secret voice assures us we have almost run our race; When the friends we love are standing round our lonely, dying bed, And we take our farewell parting ere the spark of life has fled; — Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864)


"An American Requiem" was commissioned by Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.


released September 13, 2016

Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh
Edward Leonard, conductor

Voces Solis
Ryan Keeling, music director

Recorded live on September 11, 2016 at
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
Recorded by Jesse Soracco

Published by Bickerstaff and Sons (ASCAP)
Available for purchase at


Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.



Chris Massa Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


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