Preparations for Duruflé

I have been spending most of my free time lately practicing for a performance this coming Sunday, January 23rd, of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. I will accompany the Good Company vocal ensemble in their performance at Lakewood Presbyterian Church. We’re doing it in Duruflé’s own organ reduction of the orchestral score. Duruflé was himself a virtuoso organist, and he wrote the reduction for that sort of player. There are parts that seem almost like an “organ concerto with choral accompaniment.”

I also forget what it’s like to just accompany and not conduct and also play myself. This means that I have to follow the musical decisions of the conductor, Karen Weaver, whether I necessarily agree with them or not. (Luckily, we only diverge artistically in a few places, and of course, her version wins for this performance.) The other difficulty is that of physical space. I’m on a strange organ (a Holtkamp that is not in the least French-sounding or acting), and the choir is positioned some distance away, with the conductor even further, so I always have to be playing slightly ahead of where the musical pulse really is. I can’t listen to them at all, because I will slow down.

I’m sure that the performance will be fine, but I’ll be glad when it’s done, and I can recapture at least part of my life.

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