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French Masterpieces

    at St Peter's Eaton Square

    Music spanning six centuries

Duruflé: Requiem
Poulenc: Figure humaine
Machaut: Biauté qui toutes autres pere
Machaut: Douce dame jolie
Machaut: Dame, de qui toute ma joie

Image © Papinou – stock.adobe.com

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The Elysian Singers are delighted to be returning to what are surely the two greatest French choral works of the 20th century: the Requiem of Maurice Duruflé, and Figure humaine by his near-contemporary Francis Poulenc.

It is particularly fascinating to combine these very different works in one concert, given that they were composed within a few years of each other, and both have a strong connection with the Second World War. Although Duruflé’s mystical sacred work, steeped in plainsong, originated in a commission from the Vichy régime, it was not completed until 1947, and became seen as a memorial to the war dead. Poulenc, by contrast, set the Resistance poetry of Paul Eluard for 12-part unaccompanied choir, in a work that is in turns highly expressive and demonically angry, concluding in a hymn to Liberty.

We also include some hauntingly beautiful works composed some 600 years earlier by Guillaume de Machaut, the composer and poet who dominated 14th century French culture.