Thousand Colours of Sunset

Sunsets are so beautiful
That they seem as if we were looking
Through the gates of Heaven

– John Lubbock

jonathan crow

The Composer

Jonathan Crow is the acting organist and music director at St Johns, Chipping Sodbury. He has a long association with the Bristol area, from school, to university and then work. He is recently returned to the area from a 4 year contract in Munich, an experience that enriched his own musical journey.

It has been his lifelong ambition to compose a truly inspirational piece of music through which to communicate the most powerful innermost expression of profound feelings of life and death.

He writes “Into such a work I would pour my very essence, my heart, body and soul. It would be an expression of all I hold dear, my faith and life experience. Such a piece if it could ever be composed would be truly special and would move the heart at the very deepest level. I firmly believe this piece to be that piece and I consider it my masterpiece”.

Biographical notes


Full Notes

Full notes by Jonathan Crow on the requiem and its various movements are available on a separate page.

Son et Lumiere

The Requiem

The Requiem has ten movements and is based on the form of the Requiem Mass set in Latin, a beautiful language to sing. It lasts forty minutes and is scored for solo cello, solo violin, solo soprano, solo tenor, choir and keyboard.

As a singer, composer, performer, teacher and listener, Jonathan Crow has drawn on the influence of some of the finest  Requiems ever written (to date there are over 2,000 Requiem compositions) . Thus one can hear Mozart, M. Haydn, Cherubini, Schubert, Berlioz, Durufle, Faure, Brahms, Dvorak and even Preisner in the notes. In fact one soprano soloist whom he accompanied in Munich described his Requiem as sounding like all the Requiems ever written.

The solo cellist for the performance Linda Hansard has written “Music and Performance is about reaching into peoples hearts and lives and making a connection for them… By giving ourselves to the music and make ourselves vulnerable in a way we give our audience permission to experience the music to connect with their own inner stories and feelings … And the music will be all the colours of the rainbow expressing the human condition.”

The work is strongly melodic with rich and lush harmonies to express the pure emotion of the human condition. Jonathan has purposely followed in the footsteps of the great composers and produced a beautiful work that stands as a reaction against the shallowness and absence of soul of the modern world.


Why A Requiem?

Crow writes: The choice of writing a Requiem in my view fulfils such lofty ambition and is intensely personal. The feelings of awestruck wonder at the sight of a glorious sunset or rainbow arch over a mountain are all expressed, as are the feelings of utter loss and enduring sadness at the passing of those dearest to me. Where words cannot express what we feel, music must. From such experiences life’s rich tapestry is woven, and I have poured all my emotions into this piece at every level. I have felt a level of inspiration that has at times totally overwhelmed me. I wanted to give the piece its own special name to convey my own feeling that this piece is special – that name is “Thousand Colours of Sunset.”

Introduction to Sunset Requiem

by Jonathan Crow | Thousand Colours of Sunset



The Arcus Singers will perform the Requiem.
Soloists will include:

  • Katie Bilner (soprano)
  • Nick Sherwood (tenor)
  • Helen Sherwood (violin)
  • Linda Hansard (cello)
  • Robin Pillinger (organ/piano)
  • Jonathan Crow (keyboard)
  • Geoff Wickham (conductor)

Profiles of the performers in detail here

Download a poster for display

Hear the Yate Choral Society perform 5th movement with solo by Katie Bilner (soprano):

St Mary's Church, Wotton

Venue of the Premiere Performance

The premiere performance takes place at St Mary’s Parish Church, Culverhay, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7LS on 10 March 2018.


On sale in January at the following outlets:

  • Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre
  • Wotton-under-Edge Historical Society & Heritage Centre
  • Eventbrite (on-line)
  • via Yate Choral Society

Ten Movements

The Requiem has ten movements and is based on the traditional form of the Requiem Mass set to Latin, a language that is beautiful to sing.

Each movement has its own distinct colour theme and the colours have been chosen purposely to express the colours of sunset under the title. The link between music and colour in a Requiem Mass composition is believed to be unique in music.


At a deeper level, it is intended for each movement to express on the one level those things associated with the colour of the movement and at another level the religious or other symbolism of the same colour as it seems to relate to the Requiem text. Thus, yellow – the colour of the Benedictus movement – is the colour of daffodils and sunshine and is also the colour that symbolises joy and happiness. The music, brief and fleeting as this movement actually is, seeks to express the colour at all levels of meaning. This is the underpinning concept behind each movement to link the Requiem text to both music and colour at various levels. If the music can be listened to in this way then it is hoped the music will have added power and resonance. All colours are reflected in a sunset and the sunset has a symbolism of its own which befits a Requiem composition.. The setting sun symbolises the completion of a journey. Thjs journey could be life itself. The twilight of human life is often compared metaphorically with the setting sun… The awesome beauty of the setting sun is also symbolic of the beauty and mystery of life itself. 


1st - Requiem aeternum

Eternal Rest: BLUE – colour of sea and sky. Symbol of tranquility and calm.

Read notes

2nd - Kyrie eleison

Lord Have Mercy: ORANGE – colour of sunset clouds. Symbol of endurance and strength

Read notes

3rd - Dies Irae

Day of Wrath: RED – colour of fire and blood. Symbol of love and passion

Read notes

4th - Lacrymosa

Weeping: PINK – colour of lotus and cherry blossom. Symbol of caring and compassion.

Read notes

5th - Sanctus

Holy: PURPLE – Colour of heather and pansies. Symbol of devotion and peace

Read notes

6th - Benedictus

Blessed: YELLOW – colour of sunshine and daffodils. Symbol of joy and happiness

Read notes

7th - Agnus Dei

Lamb of God: WHITE – colour of snow and clouds. Symbol of purity and innocence.

Read notes

8th - Pie Jesu

Merciful Jesus: GOLD – colour of sun and sand. Symbol of illumination and perfection.

Read notes

9th - Libera Me

Deliver Me: BLACK – colour of night and shadow. Symbol of death and mourning.

Read notes

10th - In Paradisum

In Paradise: GREEN – colour of grass and trees. Symbol of harmony and new life.

Read notes