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The Duruflé Requiem will be sung by St Bride's Choir accompanied by St Bride's Orchestra on 9th November as part of the liturgy of Choral Eucharist. The service begins with the Act of Remembrance at 10:50am. The preacher will be the Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, our new Rector. Please join us in welcoming Alison as she leads her first Sunday service at St Bride's.
Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986) is one of the great Parisian church organist-composers of the 20th century. After working as Louis Vierne's assistant at Notre Dame, he became titular organist of St-Étienne-du-Mont in 1929, a position he held for the rest of his life.
Incredibly self-effacing, he spent considerable time re-working his compositions to attain what he saw as the correct level of perfection.
Having been steeped in the Gregorian Plainsong tradition of Rouen cathedral where he was a boy chorister, it is plainsong of the Burial Service that Duruflé uses as his raw material for his Requiem of 1947.
His declared intention was 'to reconcile, as far as possible, Gregorian melody and rhythm... with the exigencies of modern meter.' The model is Gabriel Fauré's Requiem; but this is no mere imitation, rather a reworking within the structure and mood established by the older composer, born of admiration and respect and he adopts a similarly restrained approach.
The strength of Duruflé's composition lies in its extraordinary fusion of disparate elements--plainsong, liturgical modality, subtle counterpoint, and the sensuous harmonies and refined scoring of Debussy, Ravel and Dukas.
Originally written for accompaniment by solo organ, Duruflé wrote two other versions; one for full orchestra, and a reduced 'middle version' that he revised in 1961 and which will be used on Remembrance Sunday.