Experience Fauré's Requiem with the Colorado Symphony

Grammy®-nominated soprano Karina Gauvin promises to shine in Britten's Les Illuminations; conductor Matthew Halls returns to Colorado for three stellar concert performances
Sept. 27, 2011 - PRLog -- The Colorado Symphony presents a spectacular weekend of uplifting masterpieces as Grammy®-nominated soprano Karina Gauvin and baritone Jonathan Beyer join conductor Matthew Halls and the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Symphony Chorus in three performances of Fauré's Requiem on Friday, October 21, Saturday, October 22 and on Sunday, October 23. A work that speaks to everyone with an open heart, Fauré's Requiem is an intimate work unlike others in its genre – a masterpiece with the power to move rather than impress listeners, a treasure of the choral repertoire. In this concert program, the Requiem is paired with Britten's Les Illuminations featuring Gauvin – a work she recently recorded with Les Violons du Roy that has garnered major critical acclaim. Based on the remarkable works of French poet Arthur Rimbaud, Les Illuminations is evocative, dreamlike and even surrealistic. Tickets are now on sale for these concerts that also feature Bizet's Suite No. 2 from the Incidental Music to Alphonse Daudet’s L’Arlésienne.

The centerpiece of this concert weekend is Fauré's Requiem, featuring the Colorado Symphony Chorus under the direction of Duain Wolfe. Unlike other requiems in the repertoire that set the full Latin liturgy (spoken church service) to music, Fauré's Requiem differs in that the composer cut much of the text that focuses on judgment. With these selective edits, Fauré created a work that is more soothing, peaceful and contemplative –widely-regarded as one of the most beautiful in music. Its "Pie Jesu" is undoubtedly the best-known among contemporary audiences, partly due to its use in film and television, most recently "Broken Flowers" starring Bill Murray, which won the Grand prix at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Ironically, Fauré – like many other composers – cared very little for organized religion. He was an avowed agnostic despite holding positions as a church organist. Emile Vuillermoz, in his biography of the composer, explained, "The Requiem is, if I dare say so, the work of a disbeliever who respects the beliefs of others." Rather than a testament of dogmatic faith, then, Fauré’s Requiem is a work to console and comfort the living — music, according to Vuillermoz, "to accompany with contemplation and emotion a loved one to a final resting place."

The composer himself wrote, "It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death; someone has even called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration toward happiness above...." In a letter dated April 3, 1921 to René Fauchois, he further explained, "Everything I managed to entertain in the way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest."

About Matthew Halls

Recently appointed artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival, Matthew Halls has established himself as one of today’s leading young conductors. A former artistic director of The King’s Consort, he has conducted in such prominent venues as Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; La Cité de la Musique, Paris; the Konzerthaus, Berlin; and at the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.

Having established his reputation as a keyboard player, Halls has worked extensively with many of Europe’s foremost early music groups and in opera houses including The Netherlands Opera and Komische Oper Berlin. Halls is also known for his passion for the Germanic repertoire, particularly Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann and Schubert. As a conductor of choral music, he has conducted an eclectic cross section of the repertoire, juxtaposing composers as diverse as Byrd and Britten, Gesualdo and Schoenberg. Now firmly established as a conductor of international repute, Halls has made significant debuts with orchestras such as Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Iceland Symphony, Les Violons du Roy and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

In 2009, Halls established the highly regarded Retrospect Ensemble. With an annual Wigmore Hall (London) series providing the backbone of its concert diary, the ensemble boasts a series of concert engagements from the Edinburgh International Festival to the Krakow Festival of Polish Music and a relationship with the Korean National Opera.

Halls was educated at Oxford University and subsequently taught at the University for five years. Passionately committed to education and working with young musicians, the development of Retrospect Ensemble’s Young Artist Programme has been a priority for him. He is also a tutor for the European Union Baroque Orchestra. He remains active as a harpsichordist and recently released his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the Linn label.

Tickets: Remaining tickets for these performances currently start at $19. Tickets are on sale now at


, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Halls, conductor
Karina Gauvin, soprano
Jonathan Beyer, baritone
Colorado Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director

BIZET: L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
BRITTEN: Les Illuminations for Soprano and String Orchestra, Op. 18
FAURÉ: Requiem for Soprano and Baritone Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 48

7:30 p.m. Friday, October 21
7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 22
2:30 p.m. Sunday, October 23

Remaining tickets for these performances currently start at $19.

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The state’s only full-time professional orchestra, the Colorado Symphony embraces a tradition of musical excellence by presenting a diverse array of symphonic performances throughout the year. The Colorado Symphony presents outstanding education and outreach programs, as well as Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, and the exciting new Inside the Score series that has attracted a historic level of first-time concertgoers. By presenting music that is both timeless and inspiring, while taking risks with new musical collaborations and interactive concerts, the Colorado Symphony is attracting more diverse and younger audiences than ever before. The increasing popularity of Colorado Symphony concerts as well as a strong fund-raising base not only re-affirms the artistic excellence of the orchestra, but also reflects the deep-rooted enthusiasm for symphonic music felt by so many individuals across the region. For more information about the Colorado Symphony, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.
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