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Alla Breve

March 06, 1994|SUSAN BLISS

DURUFLE: Requiem, Opus 9; Four Motets, Opus 10. Master Chorale of Orange County, conducted by William Hall. Martha-Jane Weaver, mezzo-soprano, Richard Fredricks, baritone, Ladd Thomas, organ. Summit DCD 134. Hall leads his 150-member choir in lush and fluid performances of Durufle's most popular work and the stylistically homogeneous publication that followed after a break of over two decades. Weaver and Fredricks treat texts with sensitivity during solo passages in the Requiem, but Fredricks' wide vibrato hinders his efforts. Amid the friendly acoustics of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, textures emerge gratifyingly transparent, handsomely complemented by Thomas' polished accompaniment--on the 93-rank, four-manual Casavant Freres Limitee. The a cappella motets offer the chorus ample opportunity to display its assets through seamless legatos, crystalline voicing and--except for some uncharacteristic, over-sibilation in "Tantum ergo"--crisp enunciation.

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