22nd Annual Lenten Evensong

Sunday February 21st, 5:00 p.m.

By Derek Nickels, Music Director

Our 22nd annual Lenten Evensong will be February 21st at 5:00 p.m. This year's service will include the beautiful Requiem, Op. 9 by the 20th century French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). 2016 marks two important dates: the 30th anniversary of the death of Duruflé, and the 50th anniversary of the installation of our Aeolian-Skinner organ.

Composers have written settings of the Requiem Mass since around the 16th century when the austere beauty and polyphony of the Renaissance reached its full flowering potential with the works of Palestrina, Lassus and Vittoria. By the end of the 18th century, Mozart and Cherubini added a more theatrical flair to this genre, albeit within the context of the very sacred element. The theatrical and operatic nature of the massively orchestrated Requiems by Berlioz and Verdi brought the development of this genre to a pinnacle. Johannes Brahms added his genius to the repertoire with his unique German Requiem, a large, multi-movement work for chorus and orchestra based on Biblical passages and written in memory of his mother.
However, Duruflé's Requiem is similar to the subtle and serene style found in the setting written by the very influential French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). Unlike other Requiems by other composers which utilize the Dies irae Sequence, a very dramatic and often bombastic illumination of the day of wrath and judgment, Duruflé carefully weaves the Gregorian chants from the Mass for the Dead throughout the nine movements of this work. Since its premier in 1947, this beautiful work has become one of Duruflé's best-known compositions. The last time the Duruflé was sung here at Holy Comforter was in 1995.

While all of our Lenten Evensongs are presented as offerings to God, this particular Evensong will be unique since we will be presenting a setting of a Requiem. This will be an opportunity to remember our loved ones who have gone before us. Please feel free to contact me with a list of names of your loved ones so we can include them in a List of Remembrances in the Evensong bulletin.