Requiem, Op. 9, by Maurice Duruflé was published in 1947. It had been commissioned six years earlier under the collaborationist Vichy regime, but Duruflé did not complete the work until 1947, post-world war II. The composer dedicated the Requiem to the memory of his father.
The work is for 4 parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass, (SATB choir) with brief mezzo-soprano and baritone solos. It exists in versions for organ alone; for organ with string orchestra and optional trumpets, harp and timpani; and for organ and full orchestra.
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.
Mass No. 4 in C major, D 452, is a mass composed by Franz Schubert in 1816. It was originally scored for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, SATB choir, violin I and II, and basso continuo (cello, double bass and organ). It is classified as a missa solemnis.
The mass shows the influence of Mozart in Schubert’s work, particularly in the original reduced orchestration (the “Salzburger Kirchentrio”, “Salzburg church trio”) and the perceived “lightness of touch”. Schubert’s contemporary diary entries confirm his interest in Mozart’s missae breves, along with the music of Michael Haydn, another Salzburg composer.
Cantique de Jean Racine (Chant by Jean Racine), Op. 11, is a composition for mixed choir and piano or organ by Gabriel Fauré. The text, “Verbe égal au Très-Haut” (“Word, one with the Highest”), is a French paraphrase by Jean Racine of a Latin hymn from the breviary for matins, Consors paterni luminis. The nineteen-year-old composer set the text in 1864–65 for a composition competition at the École Niedermeyer de Paris, and it won him the first prize. The work was first performed the following year on 4 August 1866 in a version with accompaniment of strings and organ. The style shows similarities with his later work, Requiem. Today, the two works are often performed together.
WCS performed all three works as our Summer Concert in May 2017.