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French Gothic
Durufle - Requiem, Vierne - Messe Solennelle plus works by Poulenc and Frank Martin

Saturday, 05 November 2016, 19:00 - 21:30
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge. London SE1 9DA

Maurice DurufleDuruflé's Requiem was commissioned in 1941 by Vichy France - the French State government as it was during World War II.   The composer was still working on the piece when the regime collapsed in 1944 and it wasn't published until 1947.   There are three orchestration settings for it, all of them involving an organ, so Southwark Cathedral's instrument will be ideal for this.   At the time he received the commission, Duruflé was also working on another work that involved Gregorian chants (notably from the Gregorian Mass of the Dead) and many of his ideas and sketches for that found their way into the final Requiem.   There are many similarities in structure to Gabriel Fauré's equivalent opus.  The concert opens with Duruflé's simple but elegant version of the Lord's Prayer.

Organist Louis Vierne (1870-1937) was one of the three French 'greats' of his time, the others being Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré.   He was Widor's assistant at Saint-Sulpice in Paris and subsequently became principal organist at Notre-Dame de Paris from 1900 until his death nearly 40 years later.  Duruflé was his assistant at Notre Dame for part of that time.   Congenital cataracts meant Vierne was almost blind but he still produced an astonishing output of music, mainly for the organ.  His Messe Solennelle was written for mixed choir and two organs in 1899 and at its premiere in Saint-Sulpice in 1901, Widor played the main organ, and Vierne the second, choir organ.  Michael Higgins will do his best to give the impression that two organs are involved in this performance.

Maurice DurufleAlthough born in Geneva, Frank Martin (right) spent a large part of his life in the Netherlands. Despite not receiving any formal music education until he was at university (studying maths and physics), Martin knew he wanted to be a composer from a very early age, a particular performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion having a notable effect on an impressionable 12 year old.   His Notre Pere was published in 1953.

Francis Poulenc said that his nature grew from the diverse backgrounds of his parents - the deeply religious faith from this father's side and the worldly, artistic side from his mother,   His better known choral work is Gloria but his setting of the Psalm 81, Exultate Deo, ‘Sing aloud unto the Lord’, is both reverent and vivid, and his harmonic tricks are used to dramatic ends.  

Click here to open flyerMaurice Duruflé - Notre Père
Louis Vierne - Messe Solennelle
Frank Martin - Notre Père
Francis Poulenc - Exultate Deo
Maurice Duruflé - Requiem 
Please note that audience seats in the north and south transepts of the cathedral will have a side-on view to the choir on the tiered staging. LED screens will be placed in the transepts to relay live images of the choir and orchestra during the performance.
* Please note the start time * 
Video services supplied by Ash Event Productions

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Tickets available online (see Book Here) or from choir members.

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