Collegium Musicum of London

French choral Music

Sat 19 Oct 2019 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Temple Church

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French choral Music image

Maurice Duruflé’s Requiemwas completed in 1947, and was his longest and most substantial work, becoming a firm favourite of the choral repertoire. Gregorian chant melodies of the burial Mass are skilfully assimilated, sometimes prominently, often subtly, as the drama unfolds. While Gregorian chant is in its essence the purest form of western music, purged of much emotion, Duruflé’s sensuous harmonies suffuse every note with feeling.

The composer’s Messe Cum Jubilois Duruflé’s last major composition, dating from 1966. Also based on Gregorian chant melodies, the work calls for a choir of baritones singing in unison.

In his Litanies à la Vierge Noire, Francis Poulenc(1899-1963) returned to the Catholic faith of his youth, shortly after learning of the death in a car accident of his friend, the composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud. Meditating on the fragility of the human condition, and drawn once again to the life of the spirit, Poulenc hoped the work – for female choir and organ – would recreate the atmosphere of ‘peasant devotion’.

The Cantique de Jean Racineis a setting of words by the 17th century dramatist and poet Jean Racine. It was Gabriel Fauré’s first significant composition, written in 1865 whilst he was a student at the École Niedermeyer, the ‘École de musique religieuse et classique’. Fauré went on to write a good deal of religious music – most notably the Requiem, written in 1888 – but of the shorter sacred pieces it is the Cantique that has particularly captured the affections of choirs and audiences.

Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir, under the expert direction of conductor Greg Morris, returns to Temple Church for this performance of French choral music, accompanied by Daniel Moult on the church’s acclaimed Harrison and Harrison organ.