Treasures of 20th-Century French Sacred Music

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

View of Paris with the tower taken from the roof of Printemp department store (Flickr/lukechanchan)

With Bastille Day falling on Saturday (July 14), the Choral Mix becomes a devoted francophile. Kent Tritle highlights the exuberant output of choral music from the Île-de-France on this special episode. The sacred music of Francis Poulenc joins pieces by Langlais, Messiaen, Widor and others.

Francis Poulenc composed his Quatre Petites Prières de Saint Francois d’Assise in 1948 and dedicated the work to his great-nephew, a monk and chorister at the Champfleury. Poulenc, who is known for combining his unique harmonic language with older compositional styles, accomplished just that in his work for a cappella male chorus. The work is divided into four movements which are prayers and based on the spiritual exercises of Saint Francis.

When asked about his inspiration for the work Poulenc stated: "I honor Saint Francis, but he is a little intimidating. At any rate, I wanted my musical settings of his poignant little prayers to be an exercise in humility." Poulenc draws on the early styles of polyphony and plainchant, adding his palatable harmonic flair to this stylistically primal work.

What are your favorite 20th century French compositions?

 

PLAYLIST

Treasures of 20th-Century French Sacred Music

Poulenc: Poulenc Oeuvres Sacrées Litanies à la Vierge Noire/ Choeur de Chambre Accentus, Laurence Equilbey/ Paris/ Accord  /Organist, Denis Comte
Litanies à la Vierge Noire

Poulenc / Poulenc CD/ Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Robert Shaw/ Atlanta
Quatre Petites prières de Saint François d’Assise
1. Salut, Dame Sainte 
II. Tout puissant, très saint
III. Seigneur, je vous en prie
IV. O mes très chers frères et mes enfants

 

Messiaen/ Catalyst CD: Of Eternal Light/ Musica Sacra, Richard Westenburg/ NYC
O sacrum convivium   

Langlais/ Langlais Missa Salve Regina- Messe Solennelle/ The Choir of the Westminster Cathedral, David Hill/ London

Kyrie  Missa Salve Regina

Gloria  Missa Salve Regina

 

Langlais/ Langlais Missa Salve Regina- Messe Solennelle/ The Choir of the Westminster Cathedral, David Hill/ London 

Sanctus, Messe solennelle

Benedictus, Messe solennelle

Agnus Dei, Messe solennelle

 

Duruflé/ BIS CD, Maurice Duruflé: The Complete Music for Choir/ St Jacob’s Chamber Choir, Gary Graden / Stockholm
Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens
Ubi Caritas    
Tota pulchra es (SSA)
Tu es Petrus  
Tantum Ergo   



Dupré/ Vierne, Widor, Dupré- Masses and Motets/ The Choir of the Westminster Cathedral, David Hill/ London
O salutaris hostias

Widor/ Vierne, Widor, Dupré- Masses and Motets/ The Choir of the Westminster Cathedral, David Hill/ London

Tu es Petrus

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Comments [1]

david dunkle from OKC

I loved that you played the Quatre Petites Prieres for men's choir and the Litanies.
My choir in Cleveland performed both of the pieces, and we really adored them, and enjoyed working on them.

Jul. 15 2012 09:20 PM

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