Entertainment Music Translation of Verdi's Dies Irae Share PINTEREST Email Print Amy T. Zielinski / Redferns / Getty Images Music Classical Music Lyrics Basics Operas Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Country Music Folk Music Rap & Hip Hop Rhythm & Blues World Music Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Aaron Green Aaron Green Music Expert B.A., Classical Music and Opera, Westminster Choir College of Rider University Aaron M. Green is an expert on classical music and music history, with more than 10 years of both solo and ensemble performance experience. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 03/29/18 After the great composer Gioachino Rossini died in 1868, Giuseppe Verdi had the brilliant idea to piece together a requiem mass composed by a handful of Italy's best composers. The collaboration was titled Messa per Rossini and was set to be performed on the first anniversary of Rossini's death, November 13, 1869. However, nine days before the premiere was set to be performed, conductor Angelo Mariani and the organizing committee abandoned the project completely. The collaborated mass wouldn't be performed for over 100 years later; its first full-length premiere happened in 1988, thanks to conductor Helmuth Rilling, who performed the piece Stuttgart, Germany. Verdi had contributed the Libera me to the collaboration and was frustrated that it wouldn't be performed in his lifetime. Still, at the forefront of his mind, he would often return to it to make edits and adjustments. Then in May of 1873, the Italian poet, Alessandro Manzoni, a man whom Giuseppe Verdi greatly admired, passed away. Manzoni's death set Verdi's heart ablaze with the idea of composing his own requiem mass to honor Manzoni's life. By June that same year, Verdi returned to Paris to begin work on his requiem mass. Less than a year later, Verdi's Requiem was completed and performed on the anniversary of Manzoni's death, May 22, 1874. Verdi himself conducted the mass, and singers whom Verdi worked with in his previous operas filled the soloist roles. Verdi's Requiem was a success in various theaters throughout Europe, but it failed to gain traction or momentum as the work began to be less and less performed. It wasn't until a revival in the 1930s, that Verdi's Requiem became standard repertoire for professional choirs and theater companies. Recommended Listening There are many great recordings of Verdi's Requiem available today. Though it would be impossible to list them all, here are a handful of recordings that are exceptionally highly rated: Verdi's Requiem featuring conductor Claudio Abbado, soprano Renata Scotto, soprano Marilyn Horne, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and bass Nicolai Ghiaurov (Rome, 1970)(Watch and listen to the full performance) – (Listen to the Dies irae) Verdi's Requiem featuring conductor Ricardo Muti, José Carreras, soprano Jessye Norman, soprano, Agnes Baltsa, bass Yevgeny Nesterenko, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (1983)(Watch and listen to the full performance) – (Listen to the Dies irae) Verdi's Requiem featuring conductor Arturo Toscanini, soprano Herva Nelli, mezzo-soprano Fedora Barbieri, tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, bass Cesare Siepi, Robert Shaw Chorale, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra (New York City, Carnegie Hall, 1951)(Watch and listen to the full performance) – (Listen to the Dies irae) Latin Text Dies iraedies illaSolvet saeclum in favilla:Teste David cum Sybilla.Quantus tremor est futurusQuando judex est venturusCuncta stricte discussurus!Dies iraedies illaSolvet saeclum in favilla:Teste David cum SybillaQuantus tremor est futurusQuatdo judex est venturusCuncta stricte discussurus!Quantus tremor est futurusDies irae, dies illaQuantus tremor est futurusDies irae, dies illaQuantus tremor est futurusQuantus tremor est futurusQuando judex est venturusCuncta stricte discussurusCuncta stricteCuncta stricteStricte discussurusCuncta stricteCuncta stricteStricte discussurus! English Translation (Literal) Day of wraththat dayEarth will be in ashes:As David and Sybil witness.How great the tremors will beWhen the judge comesTo examine everything strictly!Day of wraththat dayEarth will be in ashes:As David and Sybil witness.How great the tremors will beWhen the judge comesTo examine everything strictly!How great the tremors will beThat day is a day of wrathHow great the tremors will beThat day is a day of wrathHow great the tremors will beHow great the tremors will beWhen the judge comesTo examine everything strictly!To examine everything strictly!To examine everything strictly!Strictly!To examine everything strictly!To examine everything strictly!Strictly! English Translation (Edited for Clarity) The day of wrath, that dayWill dissolve the world in ashesAs foretold by David and the Sibyl!How great the tremors there will be,when the judge comes,investigating everything strictly!