Stephen Layton

Intimate choral work: Pärt, Poulenc and Fauré's Requiem


  • Arvo Pärt Trisagion
  • Francis Poulenc Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence
  • Francis Poulenc Salve Regina
  • Peteris Vasks Musica dolorosa
  • Gabriel Fauré Requiem

Top English ensembles Polyphony and Britten Sinfonia dive into Fauré's irresistibly intimate version of the Requiem, as well as Pärt, Poulenc and Vasks.

The English choral tradition
"Probably the best small professional choir in the world," American Encore Magazine once wrote of Polyphony, founded in 1986 by Stephen Layton. Together with the instrumental accompaniment of Britten Sinfonia, they represent the best the English choral tradition has to offer. The combination previously proved this with a "scorchingly intense reading" (OpusKlassiek) of Poulenc's religious works. Today, in addition to works by the Baltic composers Pärt and Vasks, they are joined by an undoubtedly impressive performance of Fauré's Requiem in the intimate "version d'église.

An intimate Fauré
"A lullaby for death," is how Fauré's famous Requiem has been called. By omitting the often dark Dies irae, the composer emphasized not the fear of, but the joyful sweetness and deliverance of death. For decades, the Requiem sounded primarily in the grand version for chorus and symphony orchestra. Until, among others, the English choral conductor John Rutter attempted to reconstruct the more intimate version that was premiered in 1893 in the Madeleine, the church where Fauré was organist. A penetrating version that fits Polyphony like a second coat.

Saturday, 27 May 2023
2:15 pm
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Stephen Layton
Britten Sinfonia
Rachel Redmond
Rachel Redmond
Malachy Frame

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