The music for our All Saints service is by Maurice Duruflé. The Prélude from his Suite for organ, opus 5, sets the somber tone for the morning. The choir, conducted by Brian Church and David Hughes, will sing movements from his Requiem, opus 9, throughout the service, finishing with the celestial In Paradisum for the Postlude. Our soloists are Karen Gardner and Brian Church.
Duruflé's Requiem was published in 1948. It had been commissioned six years earlier under a scheme of the collaborationist Vichy regime to create new and authentically French works of art, but Duruflé, known for being self-critical to an obsessive degree, was still working on it in 1944 when the regime collapsed and in fact did not complete it until the year of publication. Remarkably, he was still able to convince the post-war French government to pay his fee.
The composer dedicated the Requiem to the memory of his father. It exists in three versions arranged by the composer himself: for organ alone; for organ with strings and optional trumpets, harp, and timpani; and for organ and full orchestra. At the time of commission, Duruflé was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chant. He incorporated his sketches for that work into the Requiem, which uses numerous themes from the Gregorian Missa pro defunctis (Mass for the Dead). Nearly all the thematic material in the work comes from chant.