Duruflé: Requiem & Poulenc: Stabat Mater
Duruflé: Requiem & Poulenc: Stabat Mater

When: April 13, 2019, 7:30pm

Where: TBA

On Saturday evening, April 13th, 2019, BCS will present two of the great French choral-orchestral works of the 20th century: Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, op. 9, and Francis Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, FP 148.

The Requiem, Duruflé’s longest and most substantial work, was composed in 1947 at the end of World War II. Like Faure’s Requiem, the work focuses not on hell and damnation, but instead on images of rest and peace. Throughout, Gregorian chant melodies of the Catholic Requiem Mass form the melodic basis of the work, surrounded with gentle harmonies. Duruflé explains: “This Requiem is not an ethereal work which sings of detachment from human concerns. It reflects, in the unchanging form of Christian prayer, the anguish of man faced with the mystery of his final end.”

Poulenc’s Stabat Mater was composed in 1950 in response to the death of his friend, the artist Christian Bérard; he considered writing a Requiem for Bérard, but, after returning to the shrine of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour, he selected the medieval Stabat Mater text. Poulenc’s setting, scored for soprano solo, mixed chorus, and orchestra, premiered in 1951 at the Strasbourg Festival. The Stabat Mater was well-received throughout Europe; in the United States it won the New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best Choral Work of the year.