Benjamin Britten took the Requiem Mass and added some of Wilfred Owen’s poems from the Great War, to create this monumental piece.
I have created a print for each movement, splitting Dies irae into three prints, as this is the largest part of the music.
I have endeavoured to capture the spirit of the music and words, as this monumental piece moves along its journey, always bearing in mind the cost to humanity.
Bells toll, music and voices rise in intensity, you can hear death’s heavy footsteps coming ever closer.
Dies irae l
Shells fall and bombs explode, obliterating men from the earth. This print includes words from the birth certificate of my Great-great Uncle, Harry Alfred George Hayter, who died in 1918, aged 19.
I was thrilled when Dies irae l won the John Purcell Paper Prize at the RE’s National Open Print Competition in London, 2015.
Dies irae ll
The height of the battle, flashes of light from explosions capture figures, holding them still for an instant.
Dies irae lll
The darkest part of the War Requiem. Light and hope are extinguished with death.
The angels sing their request: “deliver the souls of the departed from the pains of hell, and the bottomless pit”.
Amidst dissonant bells the Soprano sings, flanked by a towering mass of humanity, as they repeat “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord”.
To capture the simplicity and melancholy of this section I have used an image from Prowse Point Cemetery.
The end of the journey, through the tunnel and into “the perpetual light” and peace. There is a meeting, and reconciliation.
Each print is 33cm x 50cm, in an edition of 10 using handmade paper from Moulin de Larroque, Couzes, France.
Each is individual due to the nature of the paper and the printing process.
This is important as the handmade paper represents human skill and individuality – as every soldier was an individual, loved by their friends and family for being themselves.