Brébeuf

Brébeuf, B29. Healey Willan's setting, for two narrators, choir, and orchestra, of E.J. Pratt's poem 'Brébeuf and His Brethren' (Toronto 1940), which tells the story of the 17th-century missionary (1593-1649) among the Hurons.

Brébeuf, B29. Healey Willan's setting, for two narrators, choir, and orchestra, of E.J. Pratt's poem 'Brébeuf and His Brethren' (Toronto 1940), which tells the story of the 17th-century missionary (1593-1649) among the Hurons. The work was originally intended as a pageant for the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ont, but it was not performed there. A shortened version was commissioned by the CBC and first broadcast 26 Sep 1943 in a performance conducted by Ettore Mazzoleni. A public presentation, entitled The Life and Death of Jean de Brébeuf, by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Sir Ernest MacMillan followed on 18 Jan 1944 at Massey Hall. A second, longer version for choir and organ, intended for a projected performance in 1947 at the Brébeuf Festival in Midland, finally was heard in 1967 under Willan's baton (his last public appearance as a conductor) in Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto. This performance was also broadcast by the CBC to mark the feast of St Jean de Brébeuf. Some excerpts from the second version (Fugue in G Minor for organ, B161, Harris 1954; Ave verum corpus, B328, Harris 1948; and 'Jesous Ahatonhia,' B424, Harris 1927) are performed separately. R. Murray Schafer wrote a cantata entitled Brébeuf in 1961, based on his own translations of Brébeuf's writings.

See also "Jesous Ahatonhia"; Missionaries in the 17th Century; Jean de Brébeuf


Further Reading

  • Clarke, F.R.C. Healey Willan: Life and Music (Toronto 1983)