excerpt from 'Lies: A Diary 1986-1999' pp. 179 (133 words)

excerpt from 'Lies: A Diary 1986-1999' pp. 179 (133 words)

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Lies: A Diary 1986-1999

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The Ascension last night with JH to hear the first of three Duruflé homages. Performances of grand clarity (by organists McNeil Robinson and John Walker, and by Dennis Keene's big choir with Maureen Forrester, age 59 and hardly the worse for wear) but the music doesn't merit the attention. (Well, maybe once.) It's at all times gorgeous, but over-solemn and soundtracky. Like Les Six, without the camp or control, or like Messiaen without the outrageous harmonic sedition. The Requiem is slow from start to finish, using Gregorian chant exclusively for its tunes. Well, with Gregorian chant you can't lose. But niether can you win. The melody is inherently appealing, but impersonal by definition. Duruflé is Gregorian chant in thirds. He is to Poulenc as Cilea is to Puccini: The same thing, but less good. 

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