For our second concert of the 2017-2018 Season, we invite you to share two intimate choral works with us, two spiritual confidences so dear to the hearts of their composers: Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir a cappella and Francis Poulenc’s Stabat Mater.
The Mass for Double Choir, composed between 1922 and 1924, was jealously guarded by Martin out of public sight and criticism for 40 years. Driven by a deep and selfless faith, he saw his ambitious choral project as “an affair between God and [himself]”. Only after the repeated efforts of determined choir directors, has this work become one of the most represented works of the Swiss composer since 1962. Absent of any accompanying instrument, the prayer rises in the light and complex polyphony of the eight voices that intermingle, answer each other, mutually enrich each other, evoking alternately the melismas of Gregorian chant, and the counterpoint of Bach, whose work had greatly influenced Martin.
Also paying tribute to the ancient music, and to the medieval text of the Stabat Mater, Francis Poulenc dedicated his poignant composition to his friend Christian Bérard, who died shortly before 1950. It is a secret of the soul, a sweet testimony of friendship, oscillating between dark pain and impulses of tenderness, joy and even frivolity, which we will share with a superb soprano soloist, and accompanied only by piano, in a sober and intimate version of Poulenc’s work.
On March 23 and 24, come discover with us the musical intensity of faith and the heart, under the high stone arches of the American Cathedral in Paris.