Pie Jesu Lyrics, English Text Translation, and History

Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem

Andrew Lloyd Webber at his birthday in the Park concert in Hyde Park, London.
Andrew Lloyd Webber at his birthday in the Park concert in Hyde Park, London. Photoshot/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

According to his official website, Andrew Lloyd Webber composed his Requiem after learning about two horrific events; the first was an article he read in the New York Times that detailed the story of a Cambodian boy who was forced to murder his mutilated sister or be executed himself, and the second event was the death of a journalist who had interviewed Andrew Lloyd Webber just weeks before, who ended up dying in Northen Ireland as a result of the IRA conflicts.

Both tragedies struck nerves deep within his core, and so Andrew Lloyd Webber took to writing music as a way to cope with and express his grief. When he finished his Requiem, Webber dedicated it to his father who passed away in 1982. Webber's Requiem is his most personal composition, and his only fully completed classical work. The requiem is a striking, yet welcome, departure from the style of music for which Lloyd Webber is known.

Webber's Requiem was first performed in New York City, New York in the St. Thomas Church on February 25, 1985, with conductor Lorin Maazel, soprano Sarah Brightman (who, at the time, was his wife), tenor Placido Domingo, and child soprano Paul Miles-Kingston. In 1986, Requiem earned Lloyd Webber a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. In addition, "Pie Jesu" placed among the top 10 in British music charts earning the Requiem the Silver Certification by the British Phonographic Industry.

Unlike a traditional requiem mass, Lloyd Webber combined the texts of the Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei, as well as the Hosanna and Benedictus, and split the Sactus into two movements. This treatment of the sacred texts is unique to Andrew Lloyd Webber and will be remembered and enjoyed for many, what will likely be, centuries.

"Pie Jesu" Latin Lyrics

Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Sempiternam
Sempiternam
Requiem

"Pie Jesu" English Translation

Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
everlasting
everlasting
Rest

Recommended "Pie Jesu" Performances

Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu" from Requiem has been steadily increasing in popularity since its premier in 1985, due massively in part to the large successes of late 20th and early 21st century performers including Angelis, a six-member group of preteens created by Simon Cowell in 2006, Sarah Brightman, Marie Osmond, Charlotte Church, and Jackie Evancho (who was the runner-up in the fifth season of America's Got Talent in 2010).

Search YouTube for "Pie Jesu - Andrew Lloyd Webber" and you'll get thousands of results. Since I mentioned above that the song's recent popularity is due in part to a handful of singers, the links below will take you to videos of their "Pie Jesu" performances. I've also included a few of my favorite recordings by classically trained singers.