This generously programmed disc provides excellent value and outstanding performances of both major and lesser-known masterpieces of French choral music. The Fauré Requiem has been recorded many times, and several excellent versions of the original orchestration are available on disc. This one is among them, owing to John Eliot Gardiner's experience and perfectionist mastery of details overlooked by less-successful choral conductors. The real bonus here is the inclusion of the popular but very difficult Debussy and Ravel chansons, and the rarely heard but eminently worthy little part songs by Saint-Saëns. These pieces are a lesson in how to achieve maximum effect with the simplest materials.
George Guest is generally regarded among the finest British choral conductors of his time. Some musicologists have attributed the endurance, if not the very survival, of the English cathedral choir to him. He made more than 60 recordings with St. John's Choir (Cambridge), covering a broad range of repertory (Palestrina and Mozart to Tippett and Lennox Berkeley) and garnering consistent critical acclaim.
I have to admit that I purchased this more for its novelty value rather than anything else. Solo piano transcriptions of any of Faure's music are - to be honest - something of a mixed bag. Certainly of the orchestral pieces I have heard for piano in the past very few have summoned up more than a passing interest. It was with some surprise then that I listened to Emile Naoumoff's transcriptions for the Requiem and found a performer who has obviously dissected the music into its key ingredients and reconstructed it with both sympathy and knowledge……Graeme Wright @ Amazon.com
The second Virgin Classics CD from the Orchestre de Paris under its new Music Director, Paavo Järvi, is entirely devoted to Fauré, with his Requiem as the centrepiece. The soloists are baritone Matthias Goerne and, singing the Pie Jesu usually assigned to a soprano, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.
From plainsong to Penderecki, this film for Remembrance Sunday shows how music has shaped the requiem over 500 years. John Bridcut explores the significance and history of one of the oldest musical forms and discusses its enduring appeal with some of its greatest exponents. The great requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi and Faure have been rooted in the Latin requiem mass of the Roman Catholic Church. But now, thanks to Brahms and Britten, the requiem has spread into other Christian traditions, producing some of the finest classical music ever written.
In a genre set by Boccherini, represented in the 19th century by the masterpieces of Schumann, Brahms, and Franck, Gabriel Fauré composed two scores that were very different from his early romances and the evanescent “lullaby of death” that is the Requiem. The Piano Quintet Op. 89 remains little known for reasons related to its composition as much as its history. Regarded by Koechlin as one of Fauré’s finest works, it serves as a transition to the composer’s final stylistic period. The Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 115, surprisingly less melancholy than its predecessor, is one of the composer’s last productions. In the evening of his life, Fauré demonstrated his supreme mastery and prodigious creative power, giving French chamber music one of its finest monuments.