Requiem (Duruflé)

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by Maurice Duruflé
Beginning of the second movement, Kyrie, in the organ version
Based onGregorian plainchant
DedicationTo the memory of his father

The Requiem, Op. 9, is a 1947 (revised 1961) setting of the Latin Requiem by Maurice Duruflé for a solo voice, mixed choir, and organ, or orchestra with organ. The thematic material is mostly taken from the Mass for the Dead in Gregorian chant. The Requiem was first published in 1948 by Durand in an organ version.


Maurice Duruflé was among French composers commissioned in May 1941 by the collaborationist Vichy regime to write extended works for a monetary award, such as 10,000 francs for a symphonic poem, 20,000 for a symphony, and 30,000 for an opera.[1] Duruflé, commissioned to compose a symphonic poem, decided to compose a Requiem and was still working on it in 1944 when the regime collapsed. He completed it in September 1947.[2]

He set the Latin text of the Requiem Mass, omitting certain parts in the tradition of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem and structuring it in nine movements. At the time of the commission, he was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chants. He incorporated his sketches for that work into the Requiem, which uses numerous themes from the Gregorian "Mass for the Dead".[3] Nearly all the thematic material in the work comes from chant.[3] Duruflé scored the work for a solo voice in the central movement, Pie Jesu, and a mixed choir, accompanied by organ or orchestra. The composer dedicated the Requiem to the memory of his father.[4]

The Requiem was published in 1948 by the French publishing house Durand, first issued in a version for SATB choir and organ.[5] Duruflé demanded payment for the commissioned work and received 30,000 francs, instead of the 10,000 of his commission, because of the complex nature of his work and inflation during that time.[6]

Structure and scoring[edit]

Incipit of the Gregorian chant introit for a Requiem Mass, from the Liber Usualis

Duruflé structured the work in nine movements:[4]

  1. Introit (Requiem aeternam)
  2. Kyrie eleison
  3. Offertory (Domine Jesu Christe), Choir & baritone solo
  4. Sanctus and Benedictus
  5. Pie Jesu, Mezzo-soprano solo, optional solo cello
  6. Agnus Dei
  7. Communion (Lux aeterna)
  8. Libera me, Choir & baritone solo
  9. In paradisum

The work is for SATB choir with brief mezzo-soprano and baritone solos. It exists in three versions: one for organ alone (with obbligato solo for cello); one for organ with string orchestra and optional trumpets, harp, and timpani; and one for organ and full orchestra.[7]

Like Fauré in his Requiem, Duruflé's omits most of the liturgical Dies Irae, but sets its part Pie Jesu. He includes Libera me and In Paradisum, from the burial service, again like Fauré, focused on calmness and a meditative character. The central movement, Pie Jesu, has the only solo for the mezzo-soprano.


The full-orchestra version is scored for 3 flutes (2nd and 3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling 2nd English horn), English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, tamtam, celesta, harp, organ, and strings (violins, violas, cellos, and double basses).

The reduced-orchestra version is scored for 3 trumpets, timpani, harp, organ, and strings (violins, violas, cellos, and double basses). The organ part used in the reduced version is different from the organ part used in the version for choir and organ.



  1. ^ Frazier 2007, pp. 156–157.
  2. ^ Frazier 2007, p. 166.
  3. ^ a b Creasy, Barry. "Requiem – Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986)". Collegium Musicum of London. British Choirs on the Net. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b Gammie, David (2014). "Requiem, Op 9". Hyperion. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  5. ^ Maurice Duruflé / Requiem / Choers à 4 Voix (S.A.T.B.). Durand. 1948.
  6. ^ Frazier 2007, p. 157.
  7. ^ Coghlan 2016.
  8. ^ "Duruflé: Complete Choral Works". Signum Records. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  9. ^ "Houston Chamber Choir Releases CD of Duruflé: Complete Choral Works". Houston Chamber Choir. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  10. ^ "Winners & Nominees". Retrieved 2020-06-15.

Cited sources[edit]

External links[edit]