Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Maurice Duruflé - Requiem Op. 9 for Chorus, Organ & Orchestra - Messe "Cum Jubilo" Op. 11 for Chorus, Organ & Orchestra - Notre Pere - Voices of Ascension Chorus and Orchestra, Dennis Keene - Delos 1995

This exquisite disc contains two of the finest works for Chorus penned during the 20th century. Maurice Duruflé's (January 11, 1902-June 16, 1986)  Requiem and 'Messe "Cum Jubilo" ' are high masterpieces of majestic beauty, and the Requiem is on par with the much better known Requiem of Gabriel Faure. The "Messe" (Mass) is my favorite work by Duruflé, and while I have many recordings of it, 20 years later this is still the finest that I have ever heard. Both works here are performed with organ and orchestra although the Requiem and the Opus 11 Mass can be performed with only organ accompaniment; I love both, however it's the blissful orchestral versions that I adore the most. This particular recording is a lofty number on my "desert-island discs"; it is simply perfection, with all the players involved evoking musical 'heaven' impeccably-and, to top it off, the sound engineering (this was released during 1995) is first-rate, my ears are as always convinced that this could have come out this year. 

It is safe to say that anyone and everyone who has fallen in love with Duruflé's music has at some point (in my case, multiple times!!) exclaimed "Oh how I wish he had written more!". Indeed, is there any other major composer that readily comes to mind who has published only thirteen (!) works? Needless to say it is because the quality of each and every one of these pieces is so high that his place in musical history is assured. One the finest moments for me is the opening, 'Kyrie' of the Messe "Cum Jubilo", it's just one of the most gorgeous things I have ever heard. But then, every moment is gorgeous in both works, and I discover new things (and thus more chills) with every listen-especially during the Requiem, mostly because it's a longer, more expansive work.

Maurice and Marie-Madeleine
The only back cover image I could find is this "bmg" version (remember the bmg club?) of the disc-I haven't owned a scanner for years now, and often had little reason to scan album art back then!

I am going to refrain from writing anything else for now...these works are so special to me that I know I would end up writing pages worth of information, which I simply don't have time for right now! I will come back to this post however-especially if people are interested in hearing about Duruflé's life and detailed info on these two works..

Enjoy everyone




anomia said...

Oh my how you tease...

Most certainly this is a lovely rendition of an exquisite choral work; however for someone whose passion for classical works starts and ends with anything "orchestral" how can I "let sleeping dogs lie" with your mention of a favourite orchestral version!

btw nothing compares to the human voice and I'm so glad you have shared this! Like your choice here, choral music speaks in a "voice" unlike any other and I have many favourites (Lauridsen, Faure, etc.) as well as this new one...

...thanks once again!

Stephen Peithman said...

Thank you for sharing your passion for music with us.

Tzadik said...

Hi there and welcome (first time commenter :) anomia, thank you for your
thoughtful words! I do hope you enjoy this release, I;m certain that you will;
it's all too beautiful and I think impossible not to be moved by this special
music. Indeed, the human voice is like nothing else and is the only musical instrument
that we all have at our disposal; the moment we are born it is there (a tad atonal
in the beginning...we are, after all, still trying to find our own voices in the early
years ; )

It is said that the earliest, original musical instrument is percussion through the
earliest form of "drumming"- needless to say this is not accurate with our ability
to create from "within"- the earliest depictions of percussion set in stone
or within ancient caves says plenty yet at the time it was near impossible to "show"
examples of chanting or group vocalization. One can only speculate what sounds
were composed 'ad hoc' in the beginning!

I do love the Faure (and Faure in general) and Lauridsen is a favorite composer of mine;
I have posted an album here several months ago, the premiere recording of Lux Aeterna.

Of course you are most welcome for the post friend, I hope to hear from you again!


Tzadik said...

Hello Stephen nice to hear from you-thanks for the comment, I do love to share the "fire" when
I have the time!



Anonymous said...

TZ-Thank you for this beautiful post. I only just recently discovered Durufle and now wonder how I could have not heard of him til now. His music just transports me...and so does your blog. Thank you for all of your hard work. Truly a labor of love...


quantum said...

Maravilloso. Gracias.

Tzadik said...

Hello John, thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments, I appreciate feedback (and actual human connection in this rather anonymous electronic universe!) and hope you continue to be transported! Durufle is a giant when it comes to creating beauty-again it's such a shame that he was extremely self-critical and didn't produce more music...at least we can cherish his small but important legacy. Hope to hear from you again my friend,


Tzadik said...

Hola quantum, you are very welcome, thank for commenting :)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely.Gorgeous. Thank you, this is one of the best things I have ever listened to.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tzadik,

I love this requiem and I would like to hear this version. Unfortunately the archive is no longer available on the link you indicate. I will appreciate if you upload it again.

Thanks for all you share, music and thoughts. It's amazing.