|Applause for Illuminare at the end|
Colin Walsh is a specialist in French music and once played Messaien in the composer's presence!
They began with Vierne's Messe Solonnelle, well performed but the music is not really to my taste - except the final movement which had something really special. Vierne was unaniously elected Organist of Notre Dame in 1900 and died at the organ duing his 1750th recital.
They continued with two pieces by Vierne's assistant Duruflé: the Sicilienne from his Suite Op 5 and his Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens op. 10 for choir a cappella. This was written in 1960 - Durufle lived from 1902-1986 and his published compositions go from 1926-1978 so he was 9 when Mahler died and died just after Lady Gaga was born! These motets were very fine and performed exceptionally well - the first (Ubi caritas) and the last (Tantum egro) are truly masterpieces and performed commensurately.
After the interval we had the Fauré Requiem. The combination of fine young voices, great sensitivity and exquisite organ playing which we had heard througout was of course really effective in this much loved and poingnant piece.
At the moment they only do about one concert a year - but do look out for the next!
PS: Fascinating quote from a Muslim convert to Christianity in Germany: "I knew this would help me with asylum, but the main reason is that there is no forgiveness in Islam, but with Jesus I'm protected already."