This Sunday, November 1, River Road Church will celebrate the memories of loved ones who have departed from their earthly lives. During my time here, we have sung masses by Vierne, Mozart, and Kodaly on this particular Sunday of the year. Last year, we communicated important sentiments of loss through Parry’s Songs of Farewell. This year, our Chancel Choir will sing the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé. David Gulick will conduct, and I will accompany, playing the organ version that Duruflé arranged several years after the 1947 publication of the original version for chorus and orchestra.
Duruflé’s setting is unique in that he used ancient Gregorian chant melodies as his inspiration and framework. In addition, his source of understanding of the chant was the monastery of Solesmes, where their research in the late 19th and early 20th century led to a style of interpretation and performance that became virtually standard throughout the Roman Catholic church many almost a century. The music of Fauré and Dukas also influenced Duruflé’s writing, and the result was a work of great depth and sincerity. It is my hope that we can all find special meaning, encouragement, and revelation in the music and words that we will sing and hear this Sunday.