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Duruflé Requiem: Editions

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you all for your many insights on the 3 Duruflé Requiem versions. Most
people indicated a preference for the full version if 1) money isn't an issue
and 2) if the hall does not have a good organ. So I plan to do the full
version, as it is a Honolulu Symphony concert and I have the whole orchestra
at my disposal, and our concert hall does not have a pipe organ. I am
pairing it with Haydn Paukenmesse. I have also done the reduced version of
the Duruflé in a large, reverberant church with a great pipe organ, and found
it very effective.

Timothy Carney
Principal Chorus Conductor
Honolulu Symphony Orchestra
Music Director, Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble
Associate Professor of Music
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Artistic Director
6th Annual
Hawai`i International Choral Festival
Mozart Great Mass in C Minor
March 23-29, 2003
choirs and individual singers are welcome to join us in Honolulu for the
Haydn and Duruflé in November and the Mozart Mass next spring--write for



I've sung both arrangements (alas, never conducted, yet). Both are
effective. The full orchestration is, of course, bigger and certainly fuller
especially in the loud sections (Sanctus and Domine Jesu Christe). If you
have the forces and the budget, go with the full orchestration.

I would certainly use, as one determining factor, the availability of a fine
pipe organ.

I prefer the full version, but I've done the reduced version many
times and think it's wonderful! But when I can afford the full version
I do it. And the last time I did it I did basically the reduced
version but I had clarinets and a bassoon available so I used them.

I hope Dr. Sparger of the Masterworks Chorale in Belleville, IL replies
to you for this one, since he has done both. In case he doesn't, we just
did the reduced version, and if you have a good organ/organist, it's
fantastic. The full orchestra version (according to Dr. Sparger) doubles
and covers the organ so it doesn't come out well (or at all, depending on
the space being used). Personally, I feel it all depends on the space in
which it will be played, the quality of the organ, and the quality of the
organist. Good luck on this gorgeous gem!

I've done the reduced version with organ, strings, trumpet, timpani. VERY
satisfying, especially if the organ is a fine one. Haven't done the full
version. It's a whole lot of players. Good luck,

smaller version is stunning and much cheaper!

I have done both. THey are both wonderfully successful. For the reduced
orch., you must have a FABULOUS organ and a FABULOUS organist. How large is
your chorus and how powerful?

I am sure that the full orchestra version is the most effective. Although it
calls for a very large orchestra, the sounds of the "color" instruments,
English Horn, Bass Clarinet, French Horns, etc. add great deal. I am doing
the full orchestra version (professional players) a week from Sunday. I did
much soul searching as to which version I should use. Using the full
orchestra version is an expensive proposition. I did eliminate some
instruments such as the third trumpet, third trombone, tuba, and celeste to
save money, but only after considerable study. My string section is not as
large as I would like, but as large as I could afford (4, 3, 3, 3, 1) and I
hope that that number will be sufficient to balance the large of number of
winds. My chorus is a semi-professional group of 30 and can put out a large
but under controlled sound when called upon. Even though it is a large
orchestra, only in a few spots do they all play at the same time.
If you can afford it and your choir is good enough, it would be the best
to go. After all, the full version is not done that often and might be an
audience draw. However, I have been involved in several performances of the
"chamber" version and the intimacy of it was quite moving.

Tim, We are performing the chamber version on May 5. I think that it works
very well. Of course, the presentation will miss the woodwind colors but the
organ picks those up. I'd recommend the Dennis Keene recording of the chamber
orchestra version of the Duruflé. It's a great recording to compare with
Shaw's Atlanta Symphony version with full orchestra.

I have performed the full score as a double bassist under the direction

of Roger Wagner and sung the bass choral part several times with reduced

orchestration as well as with organ only. I would say to get what your

budget allows, if you have a large chorus. Otherwise the reduced

orchestration is fine. To me the conductor with vision of the piece and

historical knowledge of composer is what is really needed. Recall that

Durufle studied with the monks that restored Gregorian chant, so pay

close attention to the way the text is set & to the groupings of two &

three in the rhythm. This is according to Wagner whom I believe studied

with Durufle himself.

on March 18, 2007 10:00pm
I am the conductor of the 20-voice Kingston Chamber Choir in Kingston ON Canada, and planning on doing the Requiem in April 08 with a small orchestra (strings[3,3,2,2], 2 trumpets, tympani, organ) Edward Norman is our accompanist and is a very accomplished organist. Is this the usual small orchestration that is used? I'm happy to hear from others who have done the work, particularly with a small choir.