Author Topic: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9  (Read 9815 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13660
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2018, 06:31:37 AM »
I've still got the Legrand CD in my Shopping Cart, but shortly after you mentioned it I turned my attention to other composers/periods.  Now that I am back into op. 9 I plan on ordering it, as well as, a few others I've wanted to purchase as hard copies.
Well, the single reviewer on Amazon.com didn't like it but I still find it to be a very moving performance.

PS actually another reviewer regarded the performance as 'outstanding' and I'd go along with that.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 06:34:37 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46454
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2018, 07:06:11 AM »
I listened to this recording again this morning and depart somewhat from your opinion.  While having three versions of this work is fine, sometimes a conductor can get carried away with the added weight of the ensemble, imo.  This recording suffers, again imo, from too much timpani and trumpets.  At times, during the "Sanctus", I was reminded of the 20th Century Fox movie intro.  Also, the movements with the baritone were disappointing, imo, not only because these were the movements in which the timpani were featured but also Mr. Allen was over the top, imo - emphatically rolling his "Rs" and imbuing his solo with altogether too much "drama".

Durufle based this work on Gregorian chant, so much so, that he has been criticized that it is not so much a new composition as an arrangement and harmonized version of the traditional chant for the requiem mass.  That being the case, drama and anything remotely approaching bombast are anathema to the effect and flow of the chant.  This is the primary reason why I find the organ-only versions to be preferable to either of the two orchestrated ones.  I am looking for austerity and a meditative ambiance, which most versions for organ and choir seem to accomplish naturally than those with the added instruments.

However, the sections of this recording that do not feature the timpani and trumpets are done very nicely, but I prefer the other Hyperion recording that I highlighted a few posts earlier.

I know, "to each his own" and I am glad you admire this work, consider it a masterpiece, and enjoy Best's recording.  That's the important thing.

To the bolded text, that’s pretty much what it boils down to so no need for me to argue ‘my case’. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46454
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2018, 07:24:29 AM »
Well, the single reviewer on Amazon.com didn't like it but I still find it to be a very moving performance.

PS actually another reviewer regarded the performance as 'outstanding' and I'd go along with that.

I take most reviews with a grain of salt, especially if I can go on YouTube and find the performance to sample it to decide whether I want it or not.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17260
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2018, 10:21:47 AM »
I like this one very much indeed, from the organ and the orchestra to the male choir. The only other one I'm familiar with is Best.


"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2018, 11:19:17 AM »
I like this one very much indeed, from the organ and the orchestra to the male choir. The only other one I'm familiar with is Best.



I have that one and will be listening to it again soon.  Cleobury usually does a good job with this kind of repertory, so I am looking forward to revisiting it.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13660
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2018, 12:49:59 PM »
I take most reviews with a grain of salt, especially if I can go on YouTube and find the performance to sample it to decide whether I want it or not.

I agree. The Cleobury is very fine too.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2018, 01:05:17 PM »
I agree. The Cleobury is very fine too.

Stephen Cleobury has been involved in two recordings of the Requiem: first as organist with George Guest leading the St. John's College Choir, Cambridge and then the one released in 2016 that North Star linked.  I remember liking the Guest/St. John's recording but in sampling the newer one today I am not impressed.  I will listen more closely to both before commenting further.

Regarding the Michel Legrand version, Mirror Image implies that it is available on YouTube.  However, I could not find it.  Did I miss it?  In any event I will be ordering my own copy this week or next.  It might seem counter intuitive for someone like Legrand to produce an estimable recording of this work, but stranger things have happened.

 ;)

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2018, 04:26:12 PM »
Stephen Cleobury has been involved in two recordings of the Requiem: first as organist with George Guest leading the St. John's College Choir, Cambridge and then the one released in 2016 that North Star linked.  I remember liking the Guest/St. John's recording but in sampling the newer one today I am not impressed.  I will listen more closely to both before commenting further.

Regarding the Michel Legrand version, Mirror Image implies that it is available on YouTube.  However, I could not find it.  Did I miss it?  In any event I will be ordering my own copy this week or next.  It might seem counter intuitive for someone like Legrand to produce an estimable recording of this work, but stranger things have happened.

 ;)

When I got home I checked my shelf since I was pretty sure that I had a different recording of the Requiem led by Stephen Cleobury, and I did: one made in 1989 with the Choir of King's College Cambridge (a bit confusing since the one in which he played organ under George Guest was with the Choir of St. John's Cambridge).  This third one couples the Durufle with the Faure Requiem and features Olaf Bar and Ann Murray as soloists, and the English Chamber Orchestra.



So, as far as I can tell Cleobury has the most recordings of the work.



Others I have in my collection to re-visit include:




There are many others available to stream and even some interesting looking live concert videos on YouTube.

I don't know how long I'll last this time around with attempting to listen to as many as I can find, but I am not even close to tiring of the music ... yet.

 ;)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 04:30:03 PM by San Antone »

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46454
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2018, 08:02:22 PM »
Regarding the Michel Legrand version, Mirror Image implies that it is available on YouTube.  However, I could not find it.  Did I miss it?  In any event I will be ordering my own copy this week or next.  It might seem counter intuitive for someone like Legrand to produce an estimable recording of this work, but stranger things have happened.

I never made such an implication, David. I was just making a generalized comment that I can sample things on YouTube to see whether I would want to buy the recording or not. Whether a recording is on YT, however, is a whole other story altogether.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 06:22:31 AM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13660
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2018, 11:04:44 PM »
Stephen Cleobury has been involved in two recordings of the Requiem: first as organist with George Guest leading the St. John's College Choir, Cambridge and then the one released in 2016 that North Star linked.  I remember liking the Guest/St. John's recording but in sampling the newer one today I am not impressed.  I will listen more closely to both before commenting further.

Regarding the Michel Legrand version, Mirror Image implies that it is available on YouTube.  However, I could not find it.  Did I miss it?  In any event I will be ordering my own copy this week or next.  It might seem counter intuitive for someone like Legrand to produce an estimable recording of this work, but stranger things have happened.

 ;)
I was surprised by how much I liked the Legrand recording. I associate him more with music like the score for 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg'!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1555
  • Location: Wales
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2018, 05:32:32 AM »
I take most reviews with a grain of salt, especially if I can go on YouTube and find the performance to sample it to decide whether I want it or not.

This, especially when some people leave bad reviews because their copy happened to be faulty, or the equipment they used to play it was faulty. Something they can solve themselves without having to damage reputations.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46454
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2018, 06:24:09 AM »
This, especially when some people leave bad reviews because their copy happened to be faulty, or the equipment they used to play it was faulty. Something they can solve themselves without having to damage reputations.

Oh yes, but let’s not forget reviews on Amazon from people leaving negative feedback for the seller from whom the reviewer had bought the item in question from. ::)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2018, 06:57:35 AM »


Duruflé : Requiem / 4 Motets Sur Des Thèmes Grégoriens
Teresa Berganza, José Van Dam, Ensemble Vocal Audite Nova De Paris, Chœurs Colonne & Orchestre Colonne, Michel Corboz ‎

This was my first CD of this work, in fact, this was my first CD purchase, period.  This is the full orchestra version, and hearing it now after so long of not listening to this version I can see why Durufle said this was his favorite iteration of his Requiem.  The strings and winds embrace the music and provide a soft, warm bed for the choir, which sounds beautiful.  Corboz's direction is expansive and at the same time a bit muted - both qualities which benefit the music.

The full orchestra makes it easier for the forces to balance, whereas the 1961 arrangement for organ and small ensemble suffers by comparison; usually the timpani and trumpets overpower the overall sound.  If I had to rank them, according to my tastes, this is how I would:

Best: Organ-only
Fine: Orchestra
Less good: Organ + small ensemble

That said, the main drawback for me with this recording is the soloists.  Both whose careers have been in the opera house, their voices are not the best for this music. 

This recording will always hold a sentimental position in my heart, though, and I still enjoy listening to it.

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2019, 09:48:06 PM »
The latest recording of the Requiem, included in the April 2019 Signum recording y Houston Chamber Choir, Robert Simpson (cond.) and Ken Cowan (organ).



This recording of all of the choral works, which encompasses:

Messe Cum jubilo Op 11 (choir & organ)
Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens Op 10 (choir)
Notre Père Op 14 (choir)
Requiem Op 9 (choir, organ, cello) - Cecilia Duarte (mezzo-soprano), Norman Fischer (cello)

This recording of the Requiem joins my short list of recordings of Durufle's masterpiece.  Balances are exemplary throughout, and Simpson chose to follow Durufle's directions to not employ a baritone soloist and instead have those parts sung by the section.  Mezzo soloist Cecilia Duarte performs the "Pie Jesu" with minimal vibrato and in a manner not unlike Clare Wilkinson, one of my favorites. 

The other works also are done very nicely - arguably the set to buy if you are looking for all of the works in one place.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy the version for choir and organ.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13660
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2019, 10:02:13 PM »
In view of his recent death I thought if put in another plug for Michel Legrand's recording. I think I've enjoyed every recording I've heard and I especially like Durufle's own recording featured on the first posting on this interesting thread. I also like the couplings on the Warner Apex release - the moving tribute to Jean Alain and Mass 'Cum Jubilo' which are my two other favourite works by Durufle. Of the different versions I like the one for reduced orchestra best. Legrand's version, with full orchestra, still seems to be dirt cheap on Amazon.com:

« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 10:05:17 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46454
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Mist floating above the water...
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2019, 06:35:16 AM »
Unlike San Antone, I like the version for small orchestra and organ the best. I feel this particular arrangement balances the voices better yet you still have some of that lush sonority from the strings but all with a great clarity. I still feel this is the greatest recording of the work:

« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 06:48:17 AM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13660
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2019, 07:04:36 AM »
Unlike San Antone, I like the version for small orchestra and organ the best. I feel this particular arrangement balances the voices better yet you still have some of that lush sonority from the strings but all with a great clarity. I still feel this is the greatest recording of the work:



Very much agree with you here.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2019, 10:51:56 AM »
Each of the three versions has its purpose, and I enjoy all of them.  What determines my reaction to a recording is not based on the instrumental forces but the singing: balance between the choir and the instruments, if the conductor offers up wildly divergent dynamics (a negative IMO) and the soloists.  All too often I am disappointed by the mezzo in the Pie Jesu.  If the approach leans towards operatic, it is huge turn-off for me.

I haven't listened to the Mathew Best recording in a while, so I don't remember the mezzo.  Ones I like are Janet Baker (Kings College, Ledger) and Clare Wilkenson (Trinity College, Richard Marlow).  Those both just happen to be the version with organ only.  But Durufle's recording with full orchestra is excellent.  And there are 1961 versions which I like as well.


Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6732
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Durufle: Requiem, Op. 9
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2019, 12:39:59 PM »
In view of his recent death I thought if put in another plug for Michel Legrand's recording.

I bought a copy of this and it arrived today.  Sorry to say I do not share your enthusiasm about the recording.