THOMAS BEVERIDGE (Composer and Conductor): I realized that I could put together a piece that kind of stands on the bridge between the two religions, the Christian religion and the Jewish religion, and takes a look at, simultaneously, at the ritual for the dead.
FAW: Beveridge says he was inspired to compose this piece after the 1991 death of his father, an Episcopal priest and scholar who immersed himself in both faiths. It was, says Beveridge, “a quest for spiritual roots.”
FAW: What Beveridge, a church organist, choir director, and composer of more than 600 works, learned over the two years he spent writing the Yizkor Requiem is that despite profound differences in theology, the two faiths share enormous common ground.
BEVERIDGE: I went through the Requiem Mass and found passages that were almost exactly the same as passages in the Yizkor service or in similar synagogue ritual, and that’s where the Mass came from. It came directly out of the synagogue.
Listen to the enter interview here at PBS Religion and Newsweekly.
Listen to excerpts from the recording of Yizkor Requiem as performed by the Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields.