Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem: Two Celestial Excerpts from the Houston Chamber Choir’s New Recording

Among the 2020 Grammy Nominees, released earlier this week, is a spectacular new album featuring music of the twentieth century French composer and organist Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).

The Houston Chamber Choir, led by its artistic director and founder Robert Simpson, released Duruflé: Complete Choral Works in April on the Signum Records label. The professional chamber ensemble is joined on the recording by Canadian organist Ken Cowan.

Maurice Duruflé completed the Requiem pour soli, choeurs et orgue, Op. 9 in September, 1947 in the aftermath of the Second World War. Thematically, the work grows out Gregorian chant, giving rise to ghosts from the distant past. Listening to this music, we float into an ethereal, serene, and mystical soundscape. At moments, the voices give us a sense of vast timelessness as well as childlike innocence.

In a future post, we will explore the Requiem in its entirety. For now, here are the first and last movements:

I. Introit:

IX. In Paradisum:

Recordings

Photograph: Rouen Cathedral, West Façade, Sunlight, Claude Monet (1892)

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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