Join us for an evening of sublime and powerful sacred French music performed by soloists, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota chorus, chamber orchestra and organ and presented in the magnificent space of the Basilica of Saint Mary.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the state of church music in Paris was a source of bitter controversy. The passion for opera and ballet that dominated the musical life of the city had become firmly entrenched even in the churches, where organists deficient in both taste and technique gratified their undiscriminating clergy and congregations with music that was either sentimental or vulgar, or both. But by the middle of the nineteenth century, a "bloodless revolution" was in the making. The mastermind was the great organ-builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, who built or rebuilt most of the organs in Paris during his long career. Enabled by these magnificent instruments, and beginning with Cesar Franck, the evolution of French sacred music took root and progressed throughout the balance of the nineteenth century into the first half of the 20th century. THE FRENCH CONNECTION traces this progress from Gabriel Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine (1865) to Maurice Duruflé's Requiem (1947).