Chant Claire — Milwaukee’s chamber choir — and the Cathedral Choir of St. John the Evangelist will perform a collaborative concert of remembrance featuring Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D Minor, Op. 48.
The concert will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
According to James Grzadzinski, director of the Cathedral Choir, Chant Claire is a highly refined chamber choir of more than 70 young adults under the direction of Ben Bedroske.
“The headline work of the concert is Requiem Op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré, which will be directed by Bedroske and for which I will serve as organist,” Grzadzinski said. “Rachel Mallette-Grzadzinski (my wife) is the soprano soloist and John Burgermeister is the baritone soloist. Both sing with the Cathedral choir.”
Fauré’s Requiem is frequently described as a contemplative work that offers clear and simple textures, drawing the listener into the magic and mystical power of music. This Requiem is filled with beautiful melodies that capture the proper mood of the text, making it a favorite among choral singers.
Fauré once said, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death, and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticised for its inclination toward human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist’s nature? 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.”
The Cathedral Choir will also sing Sicut cervus (Palestrina), E’en So, Lord Jesus Quickly Come (Paul Manz), and Eternal Light and Rest (Grzadzinski’s piece).
“The repertoire speaks powerfully of our hope as Catholics in eternal life and God’s merciful love that we desire as missionary disciples,” said Grzadzinski. “The Requiem is timely whether or not we are remembering deceased family and friends in the month of November, or we remember collectively our community members lost during COVID or as a result of violence and wars. The beautiful sacred space of the Cathedral as well as its two historic pipe organs add to this sung prayer and timely presentation of sublime sacred musical masterworks in the Mother Church.”
The concert is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required. A free will offering will benefit the vibrancy of sacred music and fine arts at the Cathedral as well as the musical efforts of Chant Claire.
If you want to go
Sunday, Nov. 20, 5 p.m. (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee
Enter on Jackson or Wells