Best known as the composer of the Requiem frequently coupled on recordings with the much more popular work in the same form by Fauré, Maurice Duruflé is all too rarely granted a disc all to himself. Thankfully, this 2008 Hyperion disc is such a disc, and, even more thankfully, it's a honey. Containing not only his relatively well-known Requiem, but also two other choral works and four shorter organ works, this disc features sterling performances by the Choir of Magdalen College and the English Sinfonia under the direction of Bill Ives. The sublimely consoling Requiem is presented in its third version for choir, small orchestra, and organ and the performance is as beautifully measured and deeply heartfelt as one could hope. The other choral works -- the austere Quartre Motets sur des thèmese grégorien and the triumphant Messe "Cum Jubilo" -- are likewise lovingly performed with impeccable intonation and unimpeachable Latin pronunciation. The four organ works -- the Prélude sur l'Itroit de l'Èphanie, the Fugue on a Theme by Rabaud, the Chant donné en homage á Jan Gallon, and Méditation pour orgue -- are darker and more inward, but organist Martin Ford gives them the most approachable imaginable performances. Recorded in clear, colorful, and highly atmospheric sound, this disc deserves to be heard by anyone who enjoys twentieth century French sacred music.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Requiem, for orchestra, organ & chorus; for organ & chorus; for small ensemble, organ & chorus, Op. 9 (3 versions)|
|Motets (4) on Gregorian Themes, for chorus, Op.10|
|Missa "Cum Jubilo", for baritone, baritone chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 11|