Day 142: “Pie Jesu” – Sarah Brightman and Paul-Miles Kingston (1985)

Even though this particular piece of music was written as part of English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, a setting of the traditional Latin funeral mass, I think that its simple lyrics of salvation and rest and its peaceful, haunting melody also resonate with the meaning and message of Christmas – and the universal hope for peace in a world in pain.

Unlike most settings of the Requiem Mass, Lloyd Webber’s combines the texts of both the Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei portions of the mass, reproduced below (along with an English translation):

“Pie Jesu,
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei,
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona eis requiem,
Sempiternam
Requiem.”

“Pious Jesus,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest.

Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest,
Everlasting
Rest.”

Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu” has been performed by dozens of artists, but Sarah Brightman’s interpretation will always be my favorite, at least in part because she was the first artist to perform the work (at its 1985 world premiere), the first artist to appear on a recording of the work, and the first artist whose version I ever heard.

The video I’ve included here is the original music video for the song’s original studio recording, which eventually reached number three on the UK singles chart.

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