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.