As one of the final events in the inaugural Creative Campuses Nova Scotia festival, the University of King’s College Chapel Choir and director, five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley, will be joined by a hand-picked chamber orchestra in a video-recorded performance of the Requiem by French composer Maurice Duruflé (1948). A ‘Requiem’ is a Mass for the dead, named for the first words of the ancient funeral liturgy, “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine”—“Give them eternal rest, O Lord.” This performance of Duruflé’s supremely beautiful, justifiably famous setting of the Requiem is dedicated to all Nova Scotians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the first year of the global pandemic. The recording will be broadcast, free of charge, beginning on Saturday, April 10*, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. ADT on the King’s Chapel Choir YouTube channel.
Musical settings of the Requiem text have existed as long as the funeral liturgy itself. As a mid-20th century composer, Duruflé had grown weary of increasingly overblown settings of the ancient text and decided to return to the early Gregorian chants, used over centuries. To these chants he added masterful choral and orchestral arrangements.
Director Paul Halley explains, “The extraordinary thing about Durufle’s Requiem is that he was really the first composer in several hundred years to be able to use early medieval Gregorian chants as the basis of his setting without compromising or destroying their integrity. Having absorbed the music of the French impressionists and benefiting from the rediscovery of a wealth of Gregorian chant, he was able to combine the modalities and tonal fluidity of both worlds, creating a work of unearthly and timeless beauty.”
For the King’s video broadcast, 18 singers and 18 instrumentalists will be spaced within the lofty acoustics of Halifax’s neo-Gothic Cathedral Church of All Saints, masterfully captured on audio by Nova Scotia’s award-winning audio engineer John Adams/Stonehouse Sound, and on video by Nova Scotian video engineers, Picnic Studios. Director Paul Halley will be playing organ, and Assistant Director Nick Halley will be conducting the work. The performance is made possible by a generous donation from Wilsons.
To watch the performance, visit the Chapel Choir’s YouTube page on or after 5 p.m. ADT on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
*Please note that the date of this broadcast has been changed to April 10.