For its March concert, A Handful of Singers combines Duruflé's much-loved Requiem, in the version for soloists, choir and organ, and his Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens, with the UK première of The Bread of Life, an inpiring work in seven movements for double choir and optional Tibetan singing bowls, by one of the world's most popular composers of choral music, ex-King's Singer Bob Chilcott.
The setting of the Requiem Mass by Maurice Duruflé dates from the 1940s, when Duruflé was working on an organ suite based on Gregorian chant. The work was inspired by the death of Duruflé's father, which explains both the personal nature and the powerful emotion of this spell-binding work. For this performance, A Handful of Singers is delighted to be joined by Peter King, Organist Emeritus of Bath Abbey and a well-known recitalist both at home and abroad.
Duruflé returned to the use of Gregorian themes in his Quatre motets of 1960, the tenth of only thirteen works published by this highly self-critical musician in his lifetime. The motets form an ideal companion piece for the Requiem; the best known is his setting of the chant Ubi Caritas.
The Bread of LIfe, written in 2010 in Chilcott's directly accessible style and beguiling harmonic language, draws together a number of biblical texts concerning bread, including Moses and the manna from heaven, the feeding of the five thousand and the Last Supper and concluding with a coupling of the Lord's Prayer and the affirmation 'I am the Bread of Life'. Already familiar with Chilcott's Requiem, which they have performed in England and Italy, the choir look forward to introducing you to this striking and inspirational work.
A Handful of Singers, one of Bath's most respected choral ensembles of 20-24 singers, is directed by its award-winning conductor Christopher Finch.