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Duruflé/Poulenc - Requiem & Motets - Yorkshire Times

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“Maurice Duruflé was the ‘titulaire’ organist of St Etienne du Mont, Paris. If you walk through the streets from St Etienne towards Les Halles, you have the Pantheon at the top, the Sorbonne, and then Notre Dame Cathedral. Thirty minutes later, at Les Halles, the church of Saint Eustache comes into view. It contains one of the finest organs in France, a marvellous organ and a rarity in that it has three 32′ pedal stops: a Contre-Bombarde, a Contre-Trombone, and a Principale basse. This magnificent beast is a must for any organ buff on a visit to the capital.

The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, has been over to Saint-Eustache to record Duruflé’s Requiem. A work he revised three times, as Roger Nichols reminds us in his excellent notes.
The aura radiating from this recording is supreme, the ambience created is divine, and Stephen Layton’s superbly trained mixed-voice choir, unquestionably one of the best in the country, is disciplined to observe every nuance in dynamics.

Harrison Cole provides rich, sumptuous sounds from the organ full of colours, with Hyperion sound engineers capturing the exciting registrations brilliantly in a performance that sends shivers down the spine. Katherine Gregory gives a beautiful reading of The Pie Jesu, movingly accompanied by cellist Myrtille Hetzel. Florian Störtz also gives a fine performance that captures the spiritual in his fleeting ‘Domine Jesu Christe’ solo.

There is an added bonus. Francis Poulenc composed a number of interesting choral works, and the disc closes with his Four Lenten Motets for unaccompanied voices, excellently sung.

One of the best recordings I have heard of the Duruflé – wonderfully phrased, and a certainty to become an authoritative recording. A fabulous disc.

Andrew Palmer

Duruflé/Poulenc - Requiem & Motets
Hyperion Records CDA68436