Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 will be given a unique jazz makeover as Eclectic Voices perform the influential French composer’s classic work on October 18 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden (The Actor’s Church).
In addition to presenting some of the most beautiful melodies ever written, Eclectic Voices musical director Scott Stroman has introduced a contemporary jazz twist to the Fauré Requiem: created by Charlie Beale, Eclectic Voices former assistant musical director, the arrangement is true to the choral score, with the original choral parts embellished by improvisations from by some of London's finest jazz musicians: Stan Sulzmann, saxophones; Henry Lowther, trumpet; Alcyona Mick, piano; Alec Dankworth, bass, and Paul Clarvis on drums.
Would the composer approve? Musical Director Scott Stroman strongly believes so: “Unlike many of his other large works, Faure set his profound Requiem simply, with spare, almost improvised accompaniments. It's a small step to strip them down even further, allowing the jazz musicians to embellish the composer's iconic melodies and rich harmonies," he said.
Fauré himself had said that “… I see death as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience… 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 October 18th programme will also feature Stroman’s Jazz Mass, written in 2001 as a uniquely contemporary jazz rendition of the traditional mass. Created to celebrate the anniversary of London's Jazz Vespers services, it has since been adopted as an exciting suite for concert performances.
The programme is typical of the style and breadth of music tackled by Eclectic Voices, who pride themselves on performing ambitious music to a professional standard from a broad range of genres: from Classical to Jazz, from Gospel to World music, as well as pieces specially commissioned by notable composers. Based in Islington, Eclectic Voices is now entering its 28th continuous year.
We are always on the lookout for talented singers who can read music: right now we would love to hear from sopranos and basses, though there are a few vacancies in other parts.
Our rehearsals are challenging but fun, and almost always followed by a little social gathering at the Highbury Barn pub. In addition to post-rehearsal socialising, we aim to have a weekend away every year, and we have frequent informal social activities (parties, walks, concert trips.)
To audition, contact [email protected]