Requiem of the week- Duruflé

My current church choir performed the Duruflé Requiem in 2006, but it didn’t entrance me as other requiems have.

From the Wikipedia: “The Requiem, op. 9, by Maurice Duruflé was commissioned in 1947 by the French music publisher Durand and is written in memory of the composer’s father… It exists in three orchestrations: one for organ alone, one for organ with string orchestra and optional trumpets, harp and timpani, and one 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.

I found the complete work performed by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Conducted by Robert Shaw. Music links to all parts, the first two together, with the Kyrie starting at about 3:59.

Introit (Requiem Aeternam)
Kyrie eleison
“The plainchant influence is clearly evident, particularly in the bass lead to this section.”
Offertory (Domine Jesu Christe)
Sanctus – Benedictus
Pie Jesu
Agnus Dei
Communion (Lux aeterna)
Libera me
In Paradisum

My current church choir performed this requiem at some point, but it didn’t entrance me as other requiems have. Still, I must note it, in part, because when our church choir director and the director of Albany Pro Musica put together their lists of possible pieces of music for the funeral of Albert Wood on March 2 (which would have been Albert’s 58th birthday), both directors came up with the Kyrie from this piece. My church choir and APM performed it together that morning, and i discovered a new fondness, at least for that section.

Requiem of the Week – Brahms German

Albert Wood, a member of my church choir, and a March Pisces, died on Ash Wednesday.


Nothing gets me in the Lenten mood like a bunch of Requiems (Requia?). I have sung several of them over the years. One I haven’t sung is Brahms’ A German Requiem, though I do have a recording of it. However, I have sung the 4th movement, in English, and it is known as How Lovely is thy dwelling place.

From the Wikipedia: A German Requiem, To Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 (German: Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der heiligen Schrift) by Johannes Brahms, is a large-scale work for chorus, orchestra, and a soprano and a baritone soloist, composed between 1865 and 1868. It comprises seven movements, which together last 65 to 80 minutes, making this work Brahms’s longest composition.

A German Requiem is sacred but non-liturgical, and unlike a long tradition of the Latin Requiem, A German Requiem, as its title states, is a Requiem in the German language.

It is a standard for a number of choirs. I know of at least a couple of people who would love it to be performed at their funerals, and it is on my list of pieces to be considered for that purpose.

Here are:
How Lovely is thy dwelling place, in English, by the Exultate Festival Choir
The same movement, in German, by the UCLA Chorale
The whole requiem by the UC Davis University and Alumni Choruses and Symphony Orchestra; unfortunately, the vocals often sound a bit muddy, per the recording methodology, not the singers.

A sad note: Albert Wood, a member of my church choir as well as other choral groups, and a March Pisces, died on Ash Wednesday. Stole this picture from someone’s Facebook page. On his LinkedIn page, a fellow choir member had written: “An incredibly talented, energetic and ethical individual, with considerable insight into the human and corporate condition.” Among other things, he was a very talented pianist.

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