Please note: This concert is in the past and has already taken place.


Southwark Cathedral
London Bridge


Maurice DurufléRequiem, Op.9
Frank MartinNotre Père
Maurice DurufléNotre Père
Francis PoulencExultate Deo
Louis VierneMesse Solennelle, Op.16


Neil Ferris – Conductor
Michael Higgins – organ
Janet Shell – mezzo-soprano
Emyr Wyn Jones – baritone
Leonie Adams – cello

Wimbledon Choral Society

Programme Note

Duruflé looked to plainsong for inspiration in almost all of his works. When this Requiem was commissioned by Vichy France, he was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chants. He incorporated his sketches for that work into this Requiem, which uses numerous themes from the Gregorian Mass for the Dead. His setting of The Lord’s Prayer is disarmingly simple, and it is this simplicity that makes this venerated prayer all the more powerful.


Poulenc’s Exultate Deo was composed in 1941, also against the backdrop of Vichy France. With its unlikely keys in the middle and featuring a remarkable effect with rumbling lower voices, Poulenc cleverly mirrors the dark chaos growing in war-torn Europe.


Vierne’s Messe Solennelle was written for mixed choir and two organs in 1899. Vierne treats liturgy as theatre, alternating the high, thunderous terror of the Kyrie and the joyfully majestic Gloria with such ethereal, introspective sections as the Benedictus and the Dona nobis pacem.


Martin’s works on sacred texts and subjects are widely considered to rank among the finest religious compositions of the 20th century. Notre Père, Martin’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer, was published in 1953.

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