Written by composer Teresa Barlow, the full requiem reflects on major social shifts of the past year, including the climate crisis, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Recorded by singers via Zoom, the 2-minute Terra Eleison is released online on 22 April.


Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Southampton-based community choir, BSO Voices, releases the premiere performance of Terra Eleison this Earth Day. The 2-minute piece — which pays homage to the natural world — is part of a brand-new requiem written to reflect on several major societal shifts of the past year.

Composed by Teresa Barlow, the new requiem contains text in both Latin and English. Recorded remotely due to the pandemic, Terra Eleison — subtitled ‘Apology to the Earth’ — has been recorded by 40 singers on Zoom and was conducted by Pete Harrison.

Composer Teresa Barlow said: “It’s been wonderful to work with BSO Voices to record this requiem for Earth Day. It’s not a standard requiem; it’s about hope and unity. I want people to feel encouraged and focussed on the future and in making the world a better place. Rehearsing Terra Eleison with BSO Voices has been easy with the help of technology and the use of silent sectionals via Zoom; the finished result when the recordings come in are as if they were standing next to each other.”

Lucy Warren, Head of BSO Participate, said: “BSO Voices is one of our key community groups and we’re so pleased technology has allowed us to continue working with them throughout the pandemic. This new piece is a beautiful work which reflects some of the most prominent issues of the last year. The Orchestra’s digital transformation over the past year has enabled it to livestream symphonic music around the world and to record projects remotely such as this.”

Terra Eleison repeats the words ‘Terra Eleison, natura Eleison’, translating as ‘Earth have mercy, nature have mercy’. Other movements within Requiem 2020 include: Dies Irae, reflects on climate change and begins with Greta Thunberg’s words in English and later in Latin; Tuba Mirum to COVID-19, with the word COVID spelled out in Morse code rhythmically throughout; Pie Jesu to the Black Lives Matter movement, the section is 8 min 46 seconds long, the length of time that George Floyd was restrained.

BSO Voices plans to perform the complete work in due course.

Terra Eleison will be free to view from Wednesday 22 April, see bsolive.com for further information.


Watch the performance on the BSO blog