Choir to sing French greats in Luton

A previous performance by Luton Choral Society, which gave its first concert in 1871
A previous performance by Luton Choral Society, which gave its first concert in 1871

Luton Choral Society will perform three masterpieces of French music at St Mary’s Church on Saturday, April 1.

The programme features Fauré’s Requiem, his Cantique de Jean Racine and Duruflé’s Requiem.

And the society’s music director, Crispin Lewis, believes the pieces make an ideal contrasting programme of French music.

He said: “The Fauré Requiem is an intimate masterpiece, simple and direct in its tuneful expression, and a long-standing favourite with audiences.

“The Duruflé is deeply evocative and transports the listener well beyond the everyday world with its impressionistic range of colours.”

Fauré’s Requiem was written in the late 1880s and first performed in 1900. His Cantique de Jean Racine won him first prize for composition at his music college in Paris, in 1865, when he was just 19.

Duruflé composed his Requiem during the Second World War and based it on Gregorian chants from the Middle Ages.

For Don Perry, one of the society’s longest-serving members, singing the Fauré Requiem is a special treat, as it was the first piece he sang with the society, in 1951 at Watford Town Hall, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.

For Gill O’Neill, who will sing the soprano solo, Pie Jesu, Fauré’s Requiem has been a favourite since she first performed it with her church choir when she was 13.

Gill will dedicate her performance to her mother, herself a fine soloist, who died in 2015.

Tickets are £12 or £10 for concessions, and £5 for under 21s. See www.lutonchoralsociety.org.uk/lcsconcerts.htm for details.