Music Appreciation: Dies Irae in movies

Have you heard the “Dies Irae”? My bet is that you have, even if you don’t realize it. The chant describes the “Day of Wrath,” and has consequently permeated Western music as a song of the dead. Even John Williams, in his score for Star Wars, uses it, as does Howard Shore in The Lord of the Rings. Tom Allen and the CBC present a video to demonstrate just how pervasive this particular chant is.

YouTube player

Dies Irae in movies: Tom Allen and the CBC trace the history of the Latin hymn

This video tracks one song across 800 years and multiple films (A.V. Club)

Stay tuned as I continue with my series on de Meij’s “Lord of the Rings” symphony (see, this post did have something to do with it, albeit indirectly!)


Lori Archer Sutherland

Lori Archer Sutherland earned a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition degree from the Ohio State University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She composes, performs, and teaches clarinet. She plays bass clarinet with the Crystal Lake Community Band and the Woodstock City Band, clarinet with Winds Off the Lake Woodwind Quintet, and is the founder and organizer of the Knock on Wood Clarinet Choir, where she plays an even bigger clarinet. Check out her site and podcast at tonaldiversions.com