Faure ‘Requiem’ & ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ and Frank’s ‘Panis Angelicus’

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster, with Bishopwearmouth Young Singers.

Conducted by David Murray

Tickets are £12.00 in Nave (£6 concessions for full time students and UB40s), £8.00 in Gallery (with limited view) and accompanied children under 16 admitted free. Obtainable via this website or info@bishopwearmouth.co.uk and from online ticketing at http://wegottickets.com/BCS

Soloist – Alexander Baker – baritone.


“Everything I managed to entertain by 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.”

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 between 1887 and 1890. This choral / orchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. The most famous movement is the soprano aria Pie Jesu. Camille Saint-Saëns said of it “just as Mozart’s is the only Ave verum corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu

His reasons for composing his Requiem are uncertain. One possible impetus may have been the death of his father in 1885 and his mother’s death two years later. Later he declared that the work was “composed for nothing …for fun, if I may be permitted to say so”. In 1924 the Requiem was performed at Fauré’s own funeral.

“As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart, I wanted to write something different.”

Cantique de Jean Racine is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ, also by Fauré, and was written by the nineteen year old composer in 1864-5. The piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer and was first performed in the following year. The text, “Verbe égal au Très-Haut” is a paraphrase by Jean Racine of the hymn for Tuesday matins, Consors paterni luminous.

Panis Angelicus is the penultimate strophe of the hymn Sacris solemniis written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as a part of a complete liturgy of the feast. Beginning with the words “Panis Angelicus” (bread of angels) it has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872, César Franck set it for voice (tenor), harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe àtrois voix Op.12. The 1932 performance of Franck’s work by John McCormack in Dublin’s Phoenix Park became the highlight of his career but many noteworthy renditions have been performed since.