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The Musical Legacy of Wartime France$
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Leslie A. Sprout

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520275300

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520275300.001.0001

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The Timeliness of Duruflé's Requiem

The Timeliness of Duruflé's Requiem

(p.120) 4 The Timeliness of Duruflé's Requiem
The Musical Legacy of Wartime France

Leslie A. Sprout

University of California Press

Duruflé's Requiem is notable for its faithful use of Solesmes plainchant and for the long postwar denial of its historical connections to wartime France by critics obsessed with its “timelessness.” Selections of the work were sung at the 1996 funeral of President François Mitterrand, who died amid controversy about his own wartime past. The Requiem is unique among Duruflé's compositions in its symphonically conceived orchestral accompaniment to choral parts based on plainchant. I argue that Duruflé, who originally envisioned his Requiem as an organ suite, adapted the work to his 1941 Vichy commission to write a symphonic poem destined for performance by one of occupied Paris's symphony orchestras, which received state subsidies to perform new French works, including state commissions.

Keywords:   Maurice Duruflé, Requiem, plainchant, Solesmes, François Mitterrand

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