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‘Requiem’ by Duruflé & ‘Gloria’ by Poulenc – March 24th 2018

Events
Events | EW
June 19th, 2016

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster starting at 7.30 p.m., conducted by David Murray.

Tickets £14.00 for Nave (£8 concessions for full-time students and on income related benefits) or £8.00 (Gallery – limited view). Accompanied under 16s free. Tickets are available from members of the Society, at the door, or on-line from http://www.wegottickets.com/BCS – who also have a direct link on the home page of this website.

Soloists : Hannah Thomson – soprano, Isobel Cheeseman – alto, & Richard Gooding – baritone.

The SATB choir and organ version of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, Op. 9 was published in 1948. It had been commissioned six years earlier under the collaborationist Vichy regime, but Duruflé was still working on it in 1944 when the regime collapsed and in fact did not complete it until the year of publication. The work is for SATB choir with brief mezzo-soprano and baritone solos. At the time of commission, Duruflé was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chants. He incorporated his sketches for that work into the Requiem, which uses numerous themes from the Gregorian “Mass for the Dead. Nearly all the thematic material in the work comes from chant. Like many requiems, Duruflé’s omits the Gradual and the Tract. The Dies irae text, perhaps the most famous portion of the Requiem Mass, is not set. Duruflé’s omission of this text and inclusion of others (Pie Jesu, Libera me, In Paradisum, from the burial service, mirroring Fauré, makes the composition calmer and more meditative than some other settings.

Duruflé was born in Louviers, Eure in 1902. He became a chorister at the Rouen Cathedral Choir School from 1912 to 1918, where he studied piano and organ. The choral plainsong tradition at Rouen became a strong and lasting influence.At age 17, upon moving to Paris, he took private organ lessons with Charles Tournemire, whom he assisted at Basilique Ste-Clotilde, Paris until 1927. In 1920 Duruflé entered the Conservatoire de Paris, eventually graduating with first prizes in organ (1922), harmony (1924), fugue (1924), piano accompaniment (1926) and composition (1928).

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music. Poulenc’s wealthy parents intended him for a business career in Poulenc Frères, their family pharmaceutical company, and did not allow him to enrol at a music college. Largely self-educated musically, he studied with the pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became his mentor after the composer’s parents died. Poulenc soon came under the influence of Erik Satie, under whose tutelage he became one of a group of young composers known collectively as Les Six. In his early works Poulenc became known for his high spirits and irreverence. During the 1930s a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards, which he alternated with his more light-hearted works.

His Gloria scored for soprano solo, large orchestra, and chorus, is a setting of the Gloria text from the mass ordinary. One of Poulenc’s most celebrated works, it was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation in honor of Sergei Koussevitzky and his wife Natalia, the namesakes of the foundation. Gloria was premiered on 21 January 1961 in Boston, Massachusetts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus Pro Musica under conductor Charles Münch with Adele Addison as soloist. The first recording (also in 1961), for EMI, was conducted by Georges Prêtre, under the supervision of the composer, with Rosanna Carteri as the soloist. Among later recordings of the music, the RCA Victor recording by the Robert Shaw Chorale in 1965 won a Grammy Award for the “Best Choral Performance.”