Times Colonist article about Faure Requiem

See what Kevin Bazzana had to say about the upcoming Faure Requiem performance, featuring some of the Victoria Children’s Choir choristers:

This year, Reformation Day, the Protestant holiday on Oct. 31, had special resonance: It marked the 500th anniversary of the day Martin Luther, according to tradition, nailed his Ninety-five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation.

At Christ Church Cathedral, that milestone was celebrated last Sunday with a day-long series of events that involved music and included the first high-profile public appearances of the cathedral’s new music director, Donald Hunt, a Halifax native who spent a decade in the U.K. before taking over at Christ Church in July.

There will be another special musical event this Sunday, the nearest Sunday to All Souls Day (Nov. 2): a Choral Evensong service in which Hunt will make his local debut as a conductor, in Fauré’s Requiem (4:30 p.m.). Hunt will lead the cathedral’s choirs, the Victoria Children’s Choir, baritone soloist Xu Zhang (a UVic student) and organist Sandra Fletcher.

This will be a “devotional performance” of the Requiem. None of the usual Evensong liturgy will be used; instead, in keeping with the solemn occasion, the movements of the Requiem will be interspersed with prayers for the dead and the recitation of names of the recently departed.

Fauré’s Requiem is apt for such an occasion. The music is serene, meditative, luminous, not dark or dramatic; conspicuously absent, for instance, is the fire and brimstone of the Dies irae (Day of Wrath) portion of the traditional Catholic Mass for the Dead. As such, it is music singularly appropriate to an atmosphere of quiet, dignified remembrance.

Indeed, Fauré’s Requiem, which is programmed here with some frequency, is often given on or around Remembrance Day, which is a little over a week away. In just the past few years, for instance, it has been given in honour of Remembrance Day by three very different local choirs.

Published in the Times Colonist on November 2, 2017