Sunday, May 7, 3 p.m.
Augustana College's Centennial Hall, 3703 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL
For the college's last major concert event in the 2022-23 school year, the Augustana Oratorio Society, Augustana Choir, and Augustana Choral Artists, with Jon Hurty conducting, will be joined by the Augustana Symphony Orchestra under conductor Ernesto Estigarribia for Maurice Duruflé's 'Requiem, Op. 9' & Other Choral Works, a stirring afternoon performance that also boasts Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo by Franz Joseph Haydn and Bachianas Brasilerias No. 4 by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Duruflé was among French composers commissioned by the collaborationist Vichy regime in May of 1941 to write extended works for a monetary award, such as 10,000 francs for a symphonic poem, 20,000 for a symphony, and 30,000 for an opera. Commissioned to compose a symphonic poem, Duruflé decided to compose a Requiem, and was still working on it in 1944 when the regime collapsed. He finally completed it in September of 1947, setting the Latin text of the Requiem Mass, omitting certain parts in the tradition of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, and structuring it in nine movements.
At the time of his commission, the composer was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chants. He consequently 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. Duruflé scored the work for a solo voice in the central movement, Pie Jesu, and a mixed choir, accompanied by organ or orchestra, and dedicated the Requiem to the memory of his father.
The Requiem was published in 1948 by the French publishing house Durand, first issued in a version for SATB (soprano/alto/tenor/bass) choir and organ. The full-orchestra version is scored for three flutes (with the second and third doubling on piccolo), two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, tamtam, celesta, harp, organ, and strings (violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. Upon its publication, Duruflé demanded payment for the commissioned work and received 30,000 francs, instead of the 10,000 of his commission, because of the complex nature of his piece.
Maurice Duruflé's 'Requiem, Op. 9' & Other Choral Works will be presented in Augustana College's Centennial Hall on May 7, admission to the 3 p.m. Concert event is $15, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)794-7306 and visiting Augustana.edu.