Music – Mozart’s “Lacrimosa”

Dear Everyone,

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think that music can provide a background and context to scenes in a story.

Perhaps the most significant song in “Gabriel’s Inferno” is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” from his Requiem. It was Mozart’s (1756-1791) last composition and remained unfinished at his death.

“Lacrimosa” provides the music for “Gabriel’s Inferno”‘s video trailer, which you can watch here.

You can read the Latin and English lyrics to the Requiem here.

Here are the lyrics to “Lacrimosa”:

Day of Weeping,

On which will rise from ashes guilty man for judgment

So have mercy, oh Lord, on this man.

Compassionate Lord Jesus,

Grant them rest.


Within the context of the story, Julianne learns that Professor Emerson has been playing “Lacrimosa” over and over again in his office, much to the exasperation of his research assistant. (His research assistant later steals the CD in an effort to stop the madness).

If you wish, you can duplicate poor Paul’s experience by replaying the book trailer. Then you can try, like Julianne, to imagine what kind of psychological space Professor Emerson would have to be in in order to listen to that music continually …

I won’t spoil the story.

Although Mozart lived hundreds of years after Dante’s death, his Requiem is a perfect fit for the The Divine Comedy and for the tortured male lead, Gabriel Emerson.

If you’re interested on the background to Mozart’s composition, you can read a short article here.

For a longer article on the life and works of Mozart, click here.

I invite you to share your favourite piece of music from “Gabriel’s Inferno” in the comments below, or perhaps to suggest a piece that should have been included but wasn’t. A playlist and media player are featured here.

Thanks for reading (and listening),


PS. I want to thank everyone who read “Gabriel’s Inferno” and left a review or a rating on Goodreads and/or I truly appreciate it.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can purchase an electronic version through the publisher for $4.99, $2 less than it’s offered on


  1. says

    Thank you for this lovely post. One of the things I love about Gabriel’s Inferno is the music you chose as a soundtrack. I often view really good books as if they are movies happening in front of my eyes and I write my own work in the same fashion.

    My most frequent compliment is my ability to get into my characters heads, music can vibrate the soul and produce the same miracle. Wherein we can feel what the characters feel.

    If I had a song I think would be prefect for any given scene it would be the one between Sam and Julia at her father’s house. (I hope you can tell the dramatic scene I am talking about-don’t want to spoil.)

    The song I would choose is Carmina Burana. For those who don’t know what that is I will leave a few links. One being a video of it on youtube with an amazing children’s choir

    This I think you might agree is a powerful peace of music by Carl Orff called “O Fortuna”. (You’ll notice the very frenzied conductor is a bit behind in the peace. eheh)

    Here are the words to some of the poems from O Fortuna::

    O Fortuna (O Fortune)
    Velut luna (like the moon)
    Statu variabilis (you are changeable)
    Semper crescis (ever waxing)
    Aut decrescis; (and waning;)
    Vita detestabilis (hateful life)
    Nunc obdurat (first oppresses)
    Et tunc curat (and then soothes)
    Ludo mentis aciem, (as fancy takes it)
    Egestatem, (poverty)
    Potestatem (and power)
    Dissolvit ut glaciem. (it melts them like ice.)
    Et inanis, (and empty)
    Rota tu volubilis, (you whirling wheel)
    Status malus, (you are malevolent)
    Vana salus (well-being is vain)
    Semper dissolubilis, (and always fades to nothing)
    Obumbrata (shadowed)
    Et velata (and veiled)
    Michi quoque niteris; (you plague me too;)
    Nunc per ludum (now through the game)
    Dorsum nudum (I bring my bare back)
    Fero tui sceleris. (to your villainy.)

    Sors salutis (Fate is against me)
    Et virtutis (in health)
    Michi nunc contraria, (and virtue)
    Est affectus (driven on)
    Et defectus (and weighted down)
    Semper in angaria. (always enslaved.)
    Hac in hora (So at this hour)
    Sine mora (without delay)
    Corde pulsum tangite; (pluck the vibrating strings;)
    Quod per sortem (since Fate)
    Sternit fortem, (strikes down the string)
    Mecum omnes plangite! (everyone weep with me!)

    I’m not sure how well you would agree with the lyrics but they do seem to be backing someone into a corner they don’t want to be in.

    All in all I see Gabriel’s Inferno deserving of having fine classical music that moves your organs around inside of you, because that is what this story should do to you.

    Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. says

    I’m on holiday, but I just couldn’t miss your blog’s update. Beautiful post, SR. Thank you for that. Truly, Gabriel’s inferno is one of the books where music is really important to the story and I love all the choices you made. You have very good taste ;). Some of the songs I love the most in the story are ” The look of love” by Diana Krall, ” Sogno” by Bocelli and ” And you give ” by Matthew Barber.
    Also, if I had to choose a song to add to the story, it could be “Fix you” by Coldplay, especially in chapter 31 when

    * SPOILER AHEAD* Gabriel reveals to Julia all of his secrets and sorrows. I envision Julia saying those words to her beloved, while trying to soothe him on the couch.
    Here are the lyrics:

    When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
    When you get what you want, but not what you need
    When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
    Stuck in reverse

    And the tears come streaming down your face
    When you lose something you can’t replace
    When you love someone, but it goes to waste
    Could it be worse?

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    And high up above or down below
    When you’re too in love to let it go
    But if you never try you’ll never know
    Just what you’re worth

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    Tears stream down on your face
    When you lose something you cannot replace
    Tears stream down on your face
    And I…

    Tears stream down on your face
    I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
    Tears stream down on your face
    And I…

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    I love all of the songs by Coldplay, but this one always stays with me, even though it’s a bit sad.
    Lately, I’m also listening a lot to Ryan Adams and I really like his version of the song “Wonderwall”. The rythm is sweet and soothing and the words convey a feeling of that kind of hope one can feel when falling in love. At least, I see it that way.

    *SPOILER AHEAD* I can envision it when Gabriel and Julia are in their orchard at night, after having celebrated Thanksgiving with Gabriel’s family.

    Thank you again,sir, for always enriching us with your posts. Keep it up!

  3. says

    Hello Coffee Jitters and Elena,
    Thank you kindly for your comments and for suggesting more music! I’m looking forward to listening to your suggestions.

    All the best and thanks for reading, SR

  4. says

    I love the music you chose for “Gabriel’s Inferno,” both classical and contemporary. I have to thank you for introducing me to Matthew Barber, who is becoming a favorite. (How did I not know about the excellent “Ghost Notes”?)

    There are other contemporary songs that remind me of the journeys taken in GI. Jonatha Brooke’s “The Choice” describes a lot of Julia’s emotions in the blurry, difficult times after they first met, and the fallout in that morning after she found him at Lobby. There’s a certain determination to the song, with an underlying vulnerability, that seems to suit Julia’s character.

    John Gorka’s “Love Is Our Cross to Bear” beautifully expresses Gabriel’s brooding concerns over his growing feelings for Julia. I think the song captures Gabriel’s uncertainty over this new experience as well as his realization of how much he wants to matter to her. (Although, of course, he already does.)

    I didn’t know where to look for you last night
    I didn’t know where to find you
    I didn’t know how I could touch that light
    That’s always gathering behind you
    I didn’t know that I would find a way
    To find you in the morning
    But love can pull you out of yesterday
    As it takes you without warning
    I want to be a long time friend to you
    I want to be a long time known
    Not one of your memory’s used-to-bes
    A summer’s fading song
    Chorus: It’s from me, it’s to you
    For your eyes
    It’s a weight, a wonder that is wise
    I am here, you are there
    Love is our cross to bear
    I know I’ll think of us upon that hill
    With the golden moon arising
    And the stars will fall around us still
    While the love is realizing
    And so it is until we meet again
    And I throw my arms around you
    You can count the gray hairs in my head
    I’ll still be thankful that I found you

    This will undoubtedly come as a great surprise to you, but I’m also throwing Bruce Springsteen’s “Human Touch” in the mix. Gabriel and Julia are forced to examine their individual lives as they reveal the elements of their past to each other. The opening lyrics make me think of their shared history, unified future, and the emptiness in between.

    “You and me, we were the pretenders
    We let it all slip away”

    They let go of that important connection they had years ago, and though they never forgot, they did let it “slip away.”

    All of these songs have religious imagery. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, because there is so much of that in GI, too.

  5. says

    All of the songs on that list are on my iPod and many feature on my favorites playlist and for that I thank you. Your playlist came at a time when I was ready to rediscover music. My favorite artists feature heavily: Diana Krall, Matthew Barber, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Norah Jones and Coldplay.

  6. says

    Thank you MC and Elletee! I really appreciate it.

    I’m looking forward to listening to the videos you’ve suggested, MC.
    And I agree with you about the Boss … several of his songs would have fit the narrative nicely.

    All the best,

  7. says

    Growing up in a household where classical music was the only real music I have an appreciation for it. Dad played piano and organ, sang tenor, played trumpet, bugle and French horn (had harmonica and accordion.) HE was a children’s choir director as his extra job as an elementary school teacher. Mom played piano, clarinet, bassoon, and sang alto. Sis went with piano, percussion, and cello. And me, I mainly sang and mostly as a second soprano, played some piano and clarinet. I married a percussionist and self taught guitarist. We went on to do our own music, he played the instruments and I sing. So ya, a musical family.
    Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” from his Requiem is so very sad. To listen to it over and over…Poor professor. fester fester fester, rot rot rot. IT is good that his assistant took it away from him. It is so mournful, but also moving. The film about Mozart, “Amadeus” they play the requiem as he is found dead in bed and through his funeral.

    Not everyone gets to write their own funeral march. I like to think of Mozart as the rock star of his time. He was a bad boy, a child prodigy, and an amazing artist. Growing up I sang in a choir and we were called The Mozart Girls. Our theme song was Mozart’s Alleluia which SR later used on his playlist.
    I like this version by a Chinese Children’s choir, similarly called “Mozart, Children’s Chorus”. I don’t think we ever sounded quite this good but 😉

    The runs were very difficult and that last high note…ya I can’t get to it anymore. It is amazing how he uses one word to span the whole song.
    Our other theme song was his Cradle song,(Wiegenlied (Lullaby).
    bell version. my parents were in bell choirs. *sigh* Dad in his white gloves. miss him.
    German version
    Can’t find a decent Engish version and the lyrics I find are different from those I sang. Perhaps our choir director made it up 😉

    Carmina Burana is also close to my heart CJ. It is one of the last things I did with my choir when I was 14. We were the children’s choir for a performance the local philharmonic was performing with several different choirs and soloists singing. I still remember the over confident woman in the Community woman’s choir behind me that sung off tune. My near perfect pitch couldn’t stand it. ugh!

    I also like Bach quite a bit and others. Here is some amazing organ. it goes on to a whole chain of different pieces by Bach.

    Johann Sebastian Bach – Toccata et fugue

    Contemporary I Like a lot of music. and the music introduced in Gabriel’s Inferno hold many favorites. Sting will always be at the top of my list 😉
    I can talk music all day but I’ll stop now. Back to work 😉

  8. says

    I love Mozart’s Lacrimosa. I find it terribly emotional and the lyrics you have given just add to that feeling. I wonder if you have heard Evanescence’s Lacrymosa, which samples the Mozart original. The lyrics also seem appropriate:

    Lacrymosa Lyrics

    Out on your own
    cold and alone again
    can this be what you really wanted, baby?

    Blame it on me
    (Dies illa)
    set your guilt free
    nothing can hold you back now

    Now that you’re gone
    I feel like myself again
    grieving the things I can’t repair and willing…

    To let you blame it on me
    (Dies illa)
    and set your guilt free
    I don’t want to hold you back now love

    I can’t change who I am
    not this time, I won’t lie to keep you near me
    and in this short life,
    there’s no time to waste on giving up
    my love wasn’t enough

    And you can blame it on me
    (Dies illa)
    just set your guilt free, honey
    I don’t want to hold you back now love

  9. says

    Hello Miss Elli and Miss Nix,
    Thanks for your comments and musical suggestions.

    Another reader contacted me to suggest Evanescence’s “Lacrymosa,” as well. “Grieving the things I can’t repair” is a powerful line.

    All the best,

  10. says

    I love pop and rock. So, after I had read the first Gabriel’s Inferno book, it came to my mind Meat Loaf’s song “If I Can’t Have You” The lines that simply blow my mind and make me think of Gabriel and Julianne are the following:

    From the Professor and Julianne’s perspective:
    “To say it’s love would be too simple
    Too obvious
    It’s more like a calling, a vocation
    Something I was
    Put on this earth to do”

    From dear Professor’s when he confesses his past habits:
    “If I can’t have you
    I don’t wanna be me
    Then I would be the same man
    You scraped off the ground
    I’d have to go back bein’
    That broken soul you found
    Those days are in the darkness
    I buried them with hardness
    And I’d have to dig those
    Demons out”

    Don’t you look at me that way
    “‘Cause you’ll pull me back and
    That’s the part I hate
    I’ll stay trapped inside my hell
    Where it’s so hot
    That my walls melt”

    And from both points of view: “To say it’s love would be too simple”

    I know the song is for a heart-broken person so the complete song would remind me of the moment Julianne thought Gabriel had left her in Rapture. As well as when she falls down (again) in front of Gabriel and his lawyer at the hearing and Gabriel looks at her “disgustingly.” The moment of her falling is so painful for me as the complete song is.

    I do hope you’d like it Mr. Reynard. The song can be listening to in youtube and the album is “Hell in a Handbasket”

  11. says

    “Lacrimosa” is my favorite track on Mozart’s Requiem. It’s beautiful & strange & haunting. I second Evanescence’s “Lacrymosa.” Others I thought of were “Calling You” ( & “18th Floor Balcony (,” both by Blue October.

    Last week I saw Nine Inch Nails in concert & thought of Gabriel & Julia. (I may or may not have TOTALLY squeed when they closed with “Hurt”). I get why many people dislike them–it’s dark, depressing, & abrasive–but I just love it. When I’m really angry or depressed, I listen to them a lot, get it out of my system, & feel better afterward. It’s strangely cathartic. Trent Reznor screams the things clanging around in my head, but probably won’t articulate, & it reminds me that I’m not the only one who feels like that sometimes. Knowing that makes me just…happy.

    Very much looking forward to the next book.

  12. says

    Listening is lovely–and singing the work is glorious—nestled within the music. Went through many rehearsals with tears in my eyes (the performance too). Note the work has a 3-beat (triple) meter; the uneven, three beat time signature is less static than an even time signature. This instability and imbalance gives the piece a forward momentum—an impulse of falling, beautifully echoed by the two-note recurring motif (the “sigh”). And with the text? Beautiful tone painting– una manifestazione della perfezione

  13. says

    The Lacrimosa—Listening is lovely–and singing the work is glorious—nestled within the music. Went through many rehearsals with tears in my eyes (the performance too). Note the work has a 3-beat (triple) meter; the uneven, three beat time signature is less static than an even time signature. This instability and imbalance gives the piece a forward momentum—an impulse of falling, beautifully echoed by the two-note recurring motif (the “sigh”). And with the text? Beautiful tone painting– una manifestazione della perfezione

  14. says

    Dear Mr SR,

    Thank you so very much for the wonderful love story that is Gabrielle and Julianne’s.

    What a wonderful soul searching journey you take your readers on, while introducing and interpreting (well, Prof Emerson’s interpretation) of works of famous poets from our history. Wow…brilliant!! :)

    After reading both Gabrielle’s Inferno and Gabrielle’s Rapture I felt I wanted to learn more about these ancient poets, in particular Dante. So of course it sent me on a whole new adventure and a little soul searching of my own! :)

    And of course music and poetry go hand in hand don’t they, through out the story I often found myself searching the songs mentioned that I wasn’t familiar with. One song in particular that I just love is Loreena McKennitt’s Dante’s Prayer from The Book of Secrets….beautiful! :)

    A classical piece of music that I could image Gabrielle playing and thinking of Julieanne in the Orchard while separated from her is F Schubert’s Serenade.

    My songs beckon softly
    through the night to you;
    below in the quiet grove,
    Come to me, beloved!

    The rustle of slender leaf tips whispers
    in the moonlight;
    Do not fear the evil spying
    of the betrayer, my dear.

    Do you hear the nightingales call?
    Ah, they beckon to you,
    With the sweet sound of their singing
    they beckon to you for me.

    They understand the heart’s longing,
    know the pain of love,
    They calm each tender heart
    with their silver tones.

    Let them also stir within your breast,
    beloved, hear me!
    Trembling I wait for you,
    Come, please me!

    Written of course in German, one of the loveliest versions I have heard of this beautiful song is from Nana Mouskouri….I hope you enjoy! :)

    Thanks again for this wonderful love story I am so delighted it continues and I cannot wait for the release of Gabriel’s Redemption. You are a brilliant writer sir SJ!! :)

    I am in awe!!

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