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Evensong Concert: Requiem by Gabriel Fauré and Selected Organ Works of Demessieux

Evensong Concert: Requiem by Gabriel Fauré and Selected Organ Works of Demessieux

Renowned as one of the great organ virtuosos of France in the middle of the 20th century, Jeanne Demessieux distinguished herself as a composer, pianist, organist and pedagogue. She died of cancer on November 11, 1968 at just 47 years of age. The organ was silent at her funeral at the Eglise de la Madeleine in Paris, where she had served as titular organist for six years, a black cloth draping from the loft to the floor forty feet below. The organ will not be silent on Saturday as we will commemorate the life of Jeanne Demessieux with a program that includes Gabriel Fauré’s beloved Requiem, its movements interspersed with selected organ works by Demessieux. These two great French musicians share the connection to that great sacred space, La Madeleine, where Fauré also served as titular organist, a generation before. His Requiem will be sung by the Schola Cantorum of St Alban’s Parish Church, Washington, DC, directed by Jeremy Filsell and accompanied by organ, violin, cello and harp in an accompaniment edition by David Hill. Joy-Leilani Garbutt will play the organ works of Demessieux. She is currently on loan to us from France where she is in the midst of a Fulbright Scholarship studying the music of French women composers from the late 19th through mid 20th centuries.

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