Chroma Chamber Choir and conductor Costa Simpson present a programme of choral music inspired by plainchant, featuring the sumptuous Requiem of Maurice Duruflé. The choir welcomes musicians Michael Stoddart (organ), Kate Sherwood (cello), Sam Downes (baritone), and Erica Sim (mezzo-soprano) to collaborate with this concert.
The programme presents both medieval plainsong and the works of composers who were inspired by its rich legacy. The a cappella Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens of Maurice Duruflé are augmented with settings of the same texts by contemporary Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo and the nineteenth-century Belgian-French composer César Franck.
For many years during the twentieth century, Duruflé was organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. A self-critical perfectionist, he published only a handful of works, including amongst them the exquisite and virtuosic Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain, performed at this concert by organist Michael Stoddart, who after a long and illustrious career in Europe and Britain now resides in Auckland.
The centrepiece of the programme is Duruflé’s Requiem, which was commissioned by the Vichy regime during the Nazi occupation of France but not completed until 1947. The piece exists in a number of different instrumentations, and this programme features the organ version completed by the composer and published in 1948, which includes a part for cello ad libitum performed in this concert by Nelson-based cellist Kate Sherwood. The vocal soloists are mezzo-soprano Erica Sim, well known to Nelson audiences, and rising star Sam Downes, a baritone based in Auckland.
Generously sponsored by the Alliance Française de Nelson.