The Requiem shows Verdi’s mastery of choral writing. It was written as a memorial for the Italian writer and poet Alessandro Manzoni and premiered on 22 May 1874 – the one-year anniversary of Manzoni’s death. Verdi’s purpose was religious as well as dramatic. His Requiem may be seen as a protest against the outrage of death as much as a plea for celestial peace and it is a work of the most highly concentrated emotion.
As Brahms described the piece after its premiere: ‘Only a genius could’ve written something like this.’