Spring 2017. Review of our performance of Durufle Requiem, Poluenc Gloria and organ piece - Jean Langlais's Te Deum - by Colin Spink. Concert of 8th April 2017
Two contrasting 20th Century French works were performed at this Easter’s concert in St Mary’s Church: Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem of 1947 and Francis Poulenc’s Gloria of 1961. The Duruflé was inspired by Faure’s Requiem but is much less often performed. It is not difficult to see why. As well as the liquid French style of delicate textures and shifting harmonies, the Faure has memorable melodic material, whereas the Duruflé has the less-predictable contours of Gregorian chant integrated into the harmonies
Aylesbury Choral Society was magnificent in the tutti harmonies of the Offertorium and Hosanna but the sections of the choir were more exposed in the Gregorian chant material. It made good sense for Jeff Stewart to place his tenors in the front where they made considerable impact.
A special mention must be made of the organist Colin Spinks, who had an immense task of managing the French registrations required by Duruflé and imitating the orchestra in the Poulenc. He also played the solo Te Deum piece by Jean Langlais.
The Poulenc Gloria is another world. Alternately cheeky and reverential yet just avoiding sentimentality, Poulenc is one the great 20th Century composers. The choir rose to the challenge, sounded joyful in the jazzy Laudamus Te and reposeful in the concluding Quoniam, with the naughty major 7th chord providing a magical ending.
The soprano soloist Susana Gaspar provided the eloquently seductive sound needed for the Domine Deus