Fauré: Requiem

Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 7:30pm
Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 2:00pm
First United Methodist Church
1005 Stover Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Rustic Cairn for Faure Requiem

The Saturday concert will be at First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins.
The Sunday concert will be at Seventh-day Adventist Church in Campion.

Written between 1887 and 1890, Gabriel Fauré's Requiem is among the best-loved pieces in the chorale repertoire. For these concerts, we will perform the piece in its original version, composed for low strings, organ, brass, and solo violin. The richness of this instrumentation is stunning, and it lends extra warmth to this most comforting of requiems. Fauré's talent as a composer of art song is quite evident in the long, mellifluous lines. As a result, his Requiem remains a favorite for choral singers the world over, and is equally popular among audiences both young and old.

The address of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is 300 42nd St SW, Loveland, CO. Both these beautiful churches have wonderful acoustics. We look forward to singing there!

Performance Notes

Gabriel Fauré was a French organist, pianist and teacher and one of the foremost composers of his generation. His musical style influenced many twentieth century composers, French and otherwise. Among his best-known works are his Nocturnes for piano, the songs “Après un rêve” and “Clair de lune”, and his Requiem. Born into a cultured but not unusually musical family, Fauré revealed his talent when he was a small boy. He was sent to a music college in Paris, where he was trained to be a church organist and choirmaster. Among his teachers was Camille Saint-Saëns, who became a life- long friend.

In his early years, Fauré earned a modest living as an organist and teacher, leaving him little time for composition. When he became successful, holding the important posts of organist of the Église de la Madeleine and head of the Paris Conservatoire, he still lacked time for composing, retreating to the countryside in the summer holidays to concentrate on composition. By his last years, he was recognized in France as the leading French composer of his day. It took many decades more for him to become accepted internationally. His music has been described as linking the end of the Romantic era with the modernism of the second quarter of the twentieth century.

It took roughly twenty years for Fauré’s Requiem to realize publication. He began in 1887 with sketches for part of the Introit and the baritone solo in the Hostias. By the end of January 1888 five movements were completed: Introit and Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and In Paradisum. The orchestration of this first version consisted of a solo violin, divided violas and cellos, basses, harp, timpani, and organ; Fauré conducted a performance of what he called his “petit Requiem” in January 1888 for a funeral at the Madeleine. He added one trumpet and one horn for a performance he conducted in May of that year, again at the Madeleine; somewhat later two each of trumpets and horns as well as bassoons appeared in the manuscript. By 1890 he had added the Offertory and Libera me, essentially completing the Requiem; the work with this orchestration was premiered in 1893 at the Madeleine with Fauré conducting.

For our performance we will use the original orchestration with solo violin (featuring Stacy Lesartre), low strings, harp, timpani and organ and the addition of horns and trumpets. The Fauré Requiem conveys a depth of spirit and conviction alongside French elegance and refinement. It is one of the most beloved masterworks in the choral repertory.

According to composer, Kevin S. Foster, the creation of Voices was brought on by two separate ideas: an increasing awareness of the many doomsday prophesies that are forever circulating via movies, documentaries and billboards and, more personally, the death of a childhood friend from cancer. While considering suffering from a global disaster or diagnosed illness, Foster came to the same conclusion: “I shall remain.” “I think there must be something beautiful in the human spirit that endures.”

Words are certainly unneeded in the Vocalise of Sergei Rachmaninoff, originally a song for voice and piano containing no words, but rather sung using a single vowel of the singer’s choosing. Without any illustrative lyrics to convey the song’s meaning, the piece takes on a personal meaning as well as a universal expressivity. The song, with its glorious melody and lack of text, has proven to be an ideal piece for transcription: there are numerous arrangements for orchestra, chamber ensemble, choir, and solo instruments with piano.

Sometimes, for Eternity by Donald M. Skirvin is an ode for chorus and solo violin to those whose lives were well-lived in music. The setting is direct and accessible, employs rich harmonies, and is constructed with beautiful voice-leading. A requiem of sorts, the piece ends with the lyric “Each dawn: a song sparrow; on my headstone trilling lux aeterna. Not for me; but not minding if I'd listen sometimes for eternity.”

Five Hebrew Love Songs consists of short poems by soprano and poet Hila Plitmann, who was born and raised in Jerusalem. Composer Eric Whitacre explains, “Each of the songs captures a moment that Hila and I shared together. Kalá kallá was a pun I came up with when she was first teaching me Hebrew. The bells at the beginning of Éyze Shéleg! are the exact pitches that awakened us each morning in Germany as they rang from a nearby cathedral. These songs are profoundly personal for me, born entirely out of love for this soprano, poet, and now my beautiful wife, Hila Plitmann.” Originally conceived as solo songs for soprano, violin and piano, they now exist in several forms, including this version for SATB chorus and solo violin and piano.

The Sanctus in D major, BWV 238 by Johann Sebastian Bach is one of three settings of this text from the ordinary of the mass (but without the expansion of the Hosanna and Benedictus) which Bach composed in the first two years following his appointment in Leipzig. The piece is divided into two fugues of approximately equal length that change with the incorporation of new text. The two sections are clearly divided by a change in meter. The obbligato violin part consists of perpetually running sixteenth notes throughout much of the piece.

Meet our Guest Artist – Stacy Lesartre, Violin

Stacy LesartreSpecial guest artist, Stacy Lesartre, performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout the Rocky Mountain region. She is currently Concertmaster of the Larimer Chorale Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony, Pro Musica Colorado, and the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, and she performs with the Colorado Symphony. She was a tenured member of and repeat soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. She has recorded at Skywalker Ranch for Warner Brothers Records and has been featured on Colorado Public Radio. She is the 1st place winner of the 2015 New York Audition Challenge.

Stacy Lesartre began playing the violin as a 4th grader in a Philadelphia public school music program, then studied violin at the Settlement School of Music with Lynn Mather. She was the recipient of several music and academic scholarships, including the Louis G. Wersen Award and the Temple University Outstanding Achievement Scholarship, and was accepted to the Blossom Festival. She earned a degree in Music Performance at Temple University, where she studied solo repertoire and chamber music with Helen Kwalwasser and orchestral repertoire with Luis Biava. During a season as a member of the Puerto Rico Symphony, she studied with Saul Ovcharov. While a member of the Houston Symphony, she received coaching from Raphael Fliegel and studied solo repertoire with Fredell Lack. She has studied with Harold Wippler in Denver, Burton Kaplan at Magic Mountain Music Farm, and received coaching from concertmasters of the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, LA Phil, and Minnesota Orchestra.

Stacy has taught violin students, chamber music and orchestral excerpts. Her students have become professional musicians, teachers, and competition winners. They have been accepted as music majors at the Eastman School of Music, Cincinnati   Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, Cleveland Institute, The University of Texas, the University of Houston, Lamont School of Music, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. A lifelong admirer of the Talent Education system, she is now registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas as of 2018.