CD133 Rutter & Vierne
John Rutter: Requiem
Duke University Chapel Choir
Robert Parkins, University organist
Timothy J. Dickey, assisting conductor
David Arcus, Chapel organist
Recorded in live performance at the Duke University Chapel, Rodney Wynkoop directs the Duke University Chapel Choir and Orchestra, soprano soloist Patricia D. Philipps, and organists Robert Parkins and David Arcus in moving performances of these stirring devotional works. The two organs in the chapel lend unusual French-style splendor to the Vierne Mass.
John Rutter: Requiem
1. Requiem æternam
2. Out of the Deep
3. Pie Jesus
5. Agnus Dei
6. The Lord Is My Shepherd
7. Lux æterna
Louis Vierne: Messe Solennelle
12. Agnus Dei
Sanctus from Requiem by Rutter
Sanctus from Messe Solennelle by Vierne
--William Zagorski (who chose it as a 'pick of the year'), Fanfare, Nov/Dec 2004
John Rutter's Requiem (1985) was composed at a time of grief for the composer. Like the Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé, with which he compares his own, Rutter's Requiem offers comfort and consolation to the bereaved. The outermost of the seven movements (Requiem æternam and Lux æterna) are settings of the first and last portions of the Latin Mass for the Dead, offering prayers that the dead may receive light and rest. The texts of the second and penultimate movements also are similar to each other, both being English versions of Psalms (130 and 23), and both being focused on the bereaved rather than the dead. The progression of the entire Requeim, however, can be heard in the contrast between these movements. While the second movement (Out of the deep have I called unto thee) gives utterance to anguish and a longing for comfort, mercy, and redemption, the penultimate movement (The Lord is my shepherd) expresses total security in the Lord. Further contributing to an overall arch shape, the third and fifth movements (Pie Jesus and Agnus Dei) are prayers directed specifically to Christ, using Latin texts from the Mass for the Dead. In the very heart of the Requiem lies the Sanctus, described by the composer as "celebratory and affirmative."
The Messe Solonnelle (Solemn Mass), Op.16, by Louis Vierne was composed in 1900, inspired in part by the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, where he had recently been appointed titular organist. Written for choir and two organs, it was dedicated to Théodore Dubois, a French composer and organist. The Messe Solonnelle was first performed on December 8, 1901, at the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris, where Vierne had earlier served as assistant to Charles-Marie Widor, with Vierne and Widor playing the two organs. Before studying with Widor, Vierne had started studying organ in 1890 with César Franck at the Paris Conservatory until Franck's sudden death less than a year later. In later years Vierne had a tremendous influence on young French organists and composers, including Marcel Dupré, Maurice Duruflé, and Nadia Boulanger. He was born almost blind and lost the rest of his sight later in life. He died of a massive stroke while playing a recital at Notre Dame in 1937.
This recording comes from a live performance by the Duke University Chapel Choir and the Orchestra Pro Cantores on March 26, 2000, in Duke Chapel, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. In the Vierne Messe Solonnelle, the first organ part (choir organ) was played by Dr. David Arcus, Chapel Organist, on the 1932 Aeolian organ; the second organ part (grand organ) wa played by Dr. Robert Parkins, University Organist, on the 1976 Flentrop organ in the rear gallery.