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Pie Jesu (original Latin: Pie Iesu) is a text from the final couplet of the Dies irae and often included in musical settings of the Requiem Mass as a motet.


Popular settingsEdit

The settings of the Requiem Mass by Luigi Cherubini, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Duruflé, John Rutter, Karl Jenkins, Kim André Arnesen and Fredrik Sixten include a Pie Jesu as an independent movement. Of all these, by far the best known is the Pie Jesu from Fauré's Requiem. Camille Saint-Saëns said of Fauré's Pie Jesu that "[J]ust as Mozart's is the only Ave verum corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu".[1]

Andrew Lloyd Webber's setting of Pie Jesu in his Requiem (1985) has also become well known. It has been recorded by Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, Jackie Evancho, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Marie Osmond, Anna Netrebko, and others. Performed by Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles-Kingston, it was a certified Silver hit in the UK in 1985.[2]


The original text, derived from the Dies irae sequence, is as follows:

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. (×2)
Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them rest.
Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem sempiternam.   
Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them everlasting rest.

Pie is the vocative of the word pius ("pious", "dutiful to one's parent or God").[3] "Jesu" (Iesu in Latin) is the vocative of Jesus/Iesus.[4] Requiem is the accusative of requies ("rest"), sometimes mistranslated as "peace", although that would be pacem, as in Dona nobis pacem ("Give us peace").

Andrew Lloyd Webber's RequiemEdit

Andrew Lloyd Webber, in his Requiem, combined the text of the Pie Jesu with that of the version of the Agnus Dei formerly appointed to be used at Requiem Masses:

Pie Jesu, (×4)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,              
Dona eis requiem. (×2)
Pious Jesus,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest.
Agnus Dei, (×4)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona eis requiem, (×2)
Sempiternam (×2)
Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest,


  1. ^ Steinberg, Michael. "Gabriel Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48." Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, 131–137.
  2. ^ "British certifications – Sarah Brightman & Paul Miles-Kingston – Pie Jesu". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Pie Jesu in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Click Search
  3. ^ Champlin, John Denison. The New Champlin Cyclopedia for Young Folks. Holt, 1924, p. 403
  4. ^ White, William. Notes and Queries. Oxford University Press, 1904, p. 490. "In Greek, which did not possess the sound sh, but substituted s, and rejected the Semitic evanescent gutturals, Yēshū(ā) became Yēsū' (Ἰησοῦ), in the nominative case Yēsū'∙s (Ἰησοῦς). In Latin these were written in Roman letters Iesu, nominative Iesu∙s. In Old French this became in the nominative case Jésus; in the regimen or oblique case Jésu. Middle English adopted the stem-form Jesu, the regular form of the name down to the time of the Renascence. It then became the fashion to restore the Latin ∙s of the nominative case, Jesu∙s, and to use the nominative form also for the objective and oblique cases, just as we do in Charle∙s, Jame∙s, Juliu∙s, and Thoma∙s. Very generally, however, the vocative remained Jesu, as in Latin and in Middle English, and this is still usual in hymns."

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