When this release garnered a Grammy award in 2020 for Best Choral Performance, Duruflé enthusiasts might have supposed that it was a home team situation: Duruflé is less popular in the U.S. than in France or Britain, and a fine Duruflé recording from the Houston Chamber Choir might have seemed a natural award candidate. However, this recording has found an enthusiastic reception across the ocean as well, and it stands on its own merits. The album presents all of Duruflé's choral music, which fits conveniently on one CD, and it offers both distinctive performances and really superb recording of an impressive organ. The organ, at Rice University's Old Recital Hall, may be new even to organ buffs, but its mystical shadings, marvelously evident in the final "In paradisum" of the Requiem, Op. 9, evoke the French organs for which Duruflé composed his music. Signum's engineers, working in what was likely an unfamiliar venue, delivered excellent results. As for the choir, especially the baritones in the Messe "Cum Jubilo," Op. 11, it has a distinctively warm sound, perhaps American, that sets them apart from the pure English cathedral choirs and the glassy French groups that have performed these pieces. There are certainly other choices for this group of works, but this one can stand with any of them and is strikingly beautiful in its organ sounds.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Messe "Cum Jubilo" pour chœur de barytons et orgue, Op. 11|
|Quatre Motets sur des thèmes grégoriens pour chœur a cappella, Op. 10|
|Requiem pour soli, chœurs et orgue, Op. 9|