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New York Choral Society: Vive la France!

Location: New York, USA
Choir type: Chamber Choirs and Vocal Ensembles
Voicing: Mixed
Francis Poulenc
Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d'Assise
Litanies à la Vierge noire

Maurice Duruflé

Olivier Latry
Salve Regina

Date & Time: Sunday, February 28, 2010; 2:00 PM

Location: St. Bartholomew's Church, 325 Park Avenue at 51st St., NYC

Tickets: $30,$35,$40

John Daly Goodwin, Music Director and Conductor
Julia Spanja Hoffert, Mezzo-Soprano
Renee Anne Louprette, Organist

Concert Information:

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Like a fine French wine, this program of lush choral music will warm and comfort the senses. The program comprises works by two of France's most important composers of the twentieth century, Poulenc's Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d'Assise, for male chorus, and Litanies à la Vierge noire, for women's chorus, and Duruflé's Requiem.

Francis Poulenc was the leading member of Les Six, a group of French composers devoted to turning music away from Impressionism, formality, and intellectualism. The Litanies à la Vierge noire signaled a new phase in Poulenc's career, one marked by religious choral works of a mysterious, ethereal, and often moving nature. The Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d'Assise was composed for and dedicated to the monastery choir at Champfleury, in particular the monk Frère Jerome, Poulenc's great-nephew. With the use of archaic textures of plainchant and early polyphony, along with Poulenc's harmonic colorings, these four pieces are works of unique reverence and solemnity.

Maurice Duruflé is known for a small number of extraordinary works, among which the Requiem is perhaps the finest and most often performed. An organist as well as a composer, Duruflé originally wrote the Requiem, which premiered in 1947, for organ accompaniment, which is the version we will perform. The "Pie Jesu" aria for mezzo-soprano combines with the choral movements to form a piece of soothing beauty.

Olivier Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, is one of the world’s most distinguished organists, not only in France, but in the international community as well.

“Salve Regina for organ and voice is based on an improvisation I played at Lawrence University, Kansas, in April 1999. The actual project, however, originated much earlier, for it was inspired to me by what is commonly called ‘the great Salve’, which I learned and sang as a child. All Christians have gone through moments of deep faith, joy, doubt, incomprehension, despair, rebellion, hope, bliss and beatitude… This is what I wanted to express through the melody which has been haunting me for so many years, its influence constantly revived through my duties at Notre Dame cathedral where, every evening before the closing of the gates, the faithfuls’ last prayer is an invocation to the Virgin Mary.” – Olivier Latr

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