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Requiem aeternam - Settings by Maurice Duruflé and Gregory Spears

Location: New York, USA
Choir type: Professional Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
Tickets: Tickets: $50 Front Orchestra / $25 General Admission / $20 Students/Seniors

Requiem, Op. 9 – Maurice Duruflé

The Sanctuary Choir of Park Avenue Christian Church
David Enlow, Organ
Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Mezzo-soprano soloist
Joe Chappel, Baritone soloist
Paul Vasile, Conductor

Requiem – Gregory Spears

Jolle Greenleaf and Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Sopranos
Stephen Sands, James Kennerley, Tenors
Lawrence Lipnik, Tenor/Recorders
Kurt-Owen Richards, Bass/Chimes
Jacqueline Kerrod, Pedal Harp
Christopher Williams, Troubadour Harp
Paul Vasile, Electric Organ
Elizabeth Weinfield, Baroque Viola
Gregory Spears, Conductor

Meredith James and Michael Wang, video

The Latin Requiem Mass has inspired composers throughout the ages. This distinctive program juxtaposes the elegant, chant-inspired setting of Maurice Duruflé with a remarkable new setting by New York composer, Gregory Spears (

Durufle’s setting, which references Gregorian chant and traditional church modes, will be performed by the Park Avenue Christian Church Sanctuary Choir accompanied by organist David Enlow. Spears’ work, informed by more eclectic array of stylistic influences and languages, will be performed by the talented musicians of TENET (, one of New York City’s premiere Early Music ensembles. The performance of Spears' Requiem will also be accompanied by an original film created by video artists Meredith James and Michael Wang.

While the title and instrumentation of Mr. Spears’ piece suggest a characteristically baroque structure, these indices are juxtaposed with Feldmanesque harmony, Reichian repetition, and motet-like vocal stylings, liberating the piece from a particular musical era. The music is wedded to an array of time- and place-exclusive languages, including Latin, Middle French, and Breton, allowing for further multi-referentiality and conceptual intricacy.

The piece premiered in June 2010 as an opera/dance collaboration with choreographer Christopher Williams for his dance production Hen’s Teeth. The performance enhanced the collage-esque sonic references with the disparate imagery of 19th century Breton fairy tales, Greek mythology, and middle age relics. The interdisciplinary realization was called “splendid…” and “the jangling together of singing voices, violin, harp, recorder, chimes, and electric organ is magical, like feathers stroking the back of your neck” (Village Voice). The New York Times called Spears’ score “the most distinguished component of the evening,” the instrumentation evoking a “shimmering medieval aura,” and New Yorker critic Alex Ross described it as “coolly entrancing.”
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