Only remember: Fauré Requiem and Incantation of Eden

faure-requiem-imageTo round off a memorable autumn term, before we abandon ourselves to the Christmas spirit, Vox Holloway is marking the end of the first world war centenary by reviving a double-bill we first performed four years ago.

Our Fauré Requiem is in a special new arrangement by Harvey Brough based on the French composer’s original chamber version, rather than the later – and more familiar – orchestral version.

The idea of partnering it with a new piece of music was born when Harvey and librettist Justin Butcher began to think about the impending four-year centenary of the first world war.

“It led Harvey and I to reflect on how Vox Holloway might engage with the theme of another world, the land of the departed,” says Justin.

“Though not a religious believer, Fauré nevertheless found the sombre texts of the Latin Requiem Mass for the Dead a powerful and liberating structure.

As Fauré himself wrote: “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.”

Harvey and Justin’s response was “a kind of cradle-song to a new-born child.” For Harvey, who wrote the score in just two weeks, “the child remembering was a powerful image.” Out of this image came a 10-minute partner piece to one of the most beautiful – and forgiving – works in the classical canon (Fauré had no time for the punitive histrionics of the Dies Irae.)

Incantation of Eden responds by shaping itself around the gentle injunction: “Listen … and remember”.


The Faure Requiem and Incantation of Eden, conducted by James Murray, will be performed at 7.30pm on  Sunday 25 November, at St Luke’s, Hillmarton Road, London N7 9JE. 

Click here to book tickets



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