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CD133   Rutter & Vierne



John Rutter: Requiem
Louis Vierne: Messe Solennelle

Duke University Chapel Choir
Orchestra Pro Cantores
Patricia D. Philipps, soprano
Rodney Wynkoop, conductor

  • Notes by Rodney Wynkoop
  • Complete texts and translations
  • 61'21" total playing time

CD133    $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing

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
4. Sanctus
5. Agnus Dei
6. The Lord Is My Shepherd
7. Lux æterna

Louis Vierne: Messe Solennelle

8. Kyrie
9. Gloria
10. Sanctus
11. Benedictus
12. Agnus Dei

Listen Listen:

Sanctus from Requiem by Rutter

Sanctus from Messe Solennelle by Vierne


This Duke University release comes in direct competition with Rutter's own two self-conducted versions, and uses larger forces at the risk of compromising the intimacy that is such an integral element in this quintessentially one-on-one Requiem. Director Rodney Wynkoop creates a massive sound that, by dint of his careful balances, does not violate the nature of the piece, but shows it in a different light, and he does so with his essentially amateur forces. That both pieces on this offering are derived from performances also bears dividends. There is a spontaneous sense of occasion that is rarely found in studio recordings. The inclusion of Vierne's rarely heard Messe Solennelle from the same concert enables us to see that French organ master more in the round, and makes this disc even more essential.
  --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.

--Rodney Wynkoop

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.