The Book of Requiems, 1450-1550

From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period

Edited by David J. Burn

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Reference work for musicologists, music theorists, performers, and music lovers

Few western musical repertories speak more to the imagination than the Requiem mass for the dead. The Book of Requiems presents in-depth essays on the most important works in this tradition, from the origins of the genre up to the present day. Each chapter is devoted to a specific Requiem, and offers both historical information and a detailed work-discussion. Conceived as a multi-volume essay collection by leading experts, The Book of Requiems is an authoritative reference publication intended as a first port of call for musicologists, music theorists, and performers both professional and student.

Volume I treats the Requiem’s liturgical and chant background, the craft of early Requiem composition, and eight of the earliest composed Requiems, from c. 1450 to c. 1550.

Contributors: M. Jennifer Bloxam (Williams College), David J. Burn (KU Leuven), Antonio Chemotti (KU Leuven / Alamire Foundation), Fabrice Fitch (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Tess Knighton (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Sarah Ann Long (Michigan State University), Honey Meconi (University of Rochester / Eastman School of Music), John Milsom (Liverpool Hope University), Stephen Rice (freelance performer, editor, and writer on Renaissance music).

“Requiems have a special place in today’s musical landscape.” Read a Q&A with editor David Burn > 

Musical examples

Pieter Bergé, David J. Burn, and Antonio Chemotti

The Plainsong Requiem Tradition
Sarah Ann Long

‘Lux aeterna luceat eis’: Polyphonic Craft in the Renaissance Requiem
John Milsom

Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420–97): Missa pro defunctis
Fabrice Fitch

Pierre de la Rue (d. 1518): Missa pro fidelibus defunctis
Honey Meconi

Antoine Brumel (c. 1460–1512/13): Missa pro defunctis
David J. Burn

Dionisius Prioris (c. 1450?–1514/15): Missa pro defunctis
M. Jennifer Bloxam

Pedro de Escobar (fl. 1507–14): Missa pro defunctis
Tess Knighton

Antoine de Févin (d. after January 1512): Missa pro fidelibus defunctis
Honey Meconi

Jean Richafort (c. 1480–c. 1550): Missa pro defunctis
M. Jennifer Bloxam

Claudin de Sermisy (c. 1490–13 October 1562): Missa pro defunctis
Stephen Rice

Primary Sources Cited

Format: Edited volume - ebook - PDF

208 pages

Illustrated b/w

ISBN: 9789461664471

Publication: June 14, 2022

Series: Book of Requiems 1

Languages: English

David J. Burn is professor of musicology and head of the Early Music Research Group at KU Leuven.

"This book might interest both scholars familiar with Requiem or Renaissance polyphony in general as well as students or general readers who want to get to know this repertoire better. On one hand, the essays are very readable, and all the fundamental questions regarding specific Requiems are well addressed... At the same time, readers already accustomed to this repertoire will also find many new ideas and starting points for further research." - Riccardo Pintus, Muzyka, 68(4), 125–127.


Het “Book of Requiems” is een meerdelige reeks. Het wordt een intellectueel, hoogstaand naslagwerk voor musicologen, muziektheoretici, uitvoerders en muziekliefhebbers. Michel Dutrieue, Stretto, 30 juli 2023,


I, for one, eagerly await further volumes of this series. (...) the efforts that went into the concept and execution of this volume, as well as the high quality of both content and production values, indicate that the series is well worth the investment. This project is indeed very likely to become the authoritative reference publication in this area.
Wolfgang Marx, Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, 18, 11–14.

Toch is dit specialistische boek de moeite waard om te signaleren, onder meer omdat dit het begin wordt van een boekenreeks over de geschiedenis van de dodenmis tot aan de huidige dag. Bij dit eerste deel gaat het om requiems (missae pro defunctis) uit de vijftiende en zestiende eeuw, van componisten die niet of nauwelijks bekend zijn bij een groot publiek.
Gerard Scheltens, Luister, november 2022