Choral Society of Durham and Duke Chapel Choir present:
Berlioz Te Deum and Poulenc Gloria
with Riverside High School Combined Chorus
Our season’s mega-grand finale wraps up a year of celebration of the reopening of the newly renovated Duke Chapel. Witness the Duke Chapel’s massive centerpiece, the 1932 Aeolian organ, coming to life roaring and snorting like a dragon behind the giant orchestra and 3 choirs in Hector Berlioz’ Te Deum, with tenor solo. Exult in Poulenc’s Gloria, one of the most popular of this 20c French composer’s works, a joyous, ebullient celebration featuring soprano soloist Mary Wilson. A masterful composer who never learned how to play piano, a wildly sought-after conductor who never had formal lessons in conducting, and a composer of religious works who was a self-proclaimed agnostic – this was Hector Berlioz. His only official job was head librarian at the Paris Conservatoire. His musical innovations became a cornerstone of musical Romanticism. Francis Poulenc, a member of Les Six, was described as “part monk, part guttersnipe” by his contemporaries. He was one of the first to realize the future impact of the gramophone, and made many recordings. Stravinsky wrote to him in 1931: “You are truly good, and that is what I find again and again in your music”. His truly beautiful Gloria is a testament to a life lived fully, making generous use of Poulenc’s musical talent.