Faure Requiem

Best performance? Contributions welcome guys.

Regards,

Lindsay

This seems to be very well regarded. I’ve had it for years.

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Thank you Nigel, appreciated.

That recording is wonderful, but it features a chamber choir and small orchestra.

It is a fabulous account, but it will not have the ‘heft’ that you might be expecting.

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This is one I admire.

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Glad to see that you are (hopefully) still well

Which Faure Requiem do you suggest ?

My 2008 Penguin Guide has this to say about the Collegium Rutter recording:

  • [Four Stars, highest recommendation] John Rutter’s inspired reconstruction of Fauré’s original 1893 score, using only lower strings and no woodwind, opened our ears to the extra freshness of the composer’s first thoughts. Rutter’s fine, bright recording includes the Messe basse and four motets, of which the Ave Maria setting and Ave verum corpus are particularly memorable. The recording is first rate but places the choir and instruments relatively close.

Here are the two versions I’ve got:

Having got very happy memories of performing it with my school choir in Alsace with just organ accompaniment (and some weighty French examples thereof), I find the smaller chamber versions quite insipid, though I appreciate its intentions.

If, like me, you prefer something that isn’t afraid of getting heavy in the right places, the King’s/Cleobury disc above is excellent. On SACD in 5.1, even more so. From the liner notes:

  • PERFORMANCE PRACTICE IN THIS RECORDING
  • Made in January 2014, this is the first recording of Marc Rigaudière’s reconstruction of the first complete liturgical performance of Fauré’s Requiem. This version employs a small orchestra of violas, cellos and basses, augmented by solo violin in one movement, and brass and timpani in others. The instruments and techniques used by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in this recording seek to re-create the sound world of a late nineteenth-century orchestra in Paris.
  • The role of the organ in the Requiem is crucial. Though for much the work it acts rather in the manner of a continuo instrument, it has important solo contributions, too. Rather than deploying the full panoply of the King’s Harrison organ, we have chosen to use only those registers which most nearly approximate to those available on the small choir organ in the Madeleine, around which the performers gathered for the first performance.

Mark

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I have the same version as HH, but the cover art is completely different. I guess it’s been republished several times since 1984 when it was first released. Anyway it works for me.

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I have the original, much smaller scale version, conducted by John Rutter. The CD that I have is on Hyperion, and has a purple/white cover booklet - I think that the one shown by HH above is a reissue.

It is lovely music, which was sung at the funeral of my mentor in a small RC chapel in London (St Ethelreda’s) 30-odd years ago. Maybe for that reason, the music always brings tears to my eyes.

Apologies - our messages have crossed!

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Fauré’s original version was composed with church performance in mind, but his publisher wanted a version more suited to the concert hall. Although Fauré obliged, scholars seem to agree that the re-orchestration was done entirely or largely by someone else. But that was the only version performed until the late 20th century when John Rutter became the first to produce a performing version of the (reconstructed) original. For listening to a recording in a domestic setting, I much prefer the original. The unique(?) tonal palette with violins missing colours the music in a way I find very appropriate.

I have the Rutter recording and agree with Nigel and David about its merits. For another compelling reading of a different reconstruction of the original with French performers I recommend this:

For the full-fat concert hall version, you can pick pretty much any recording predating the Rutter. The King’s College disc conducted David Willcocks was what first turned me on to this beautiful work, but it does sound very English.

Roger

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I also really like this one, and the coupling with Bach works really well.

Gramophone rated it the best version on record.

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Here’s another option to listen to:

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This one in fact Graham?

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Yes, David. A beautiful performance and well recorded too. I think that it was, at the time of its release, the first to revert to Fauré’s original chamber-sized orchestration.

I am a huge fan of the Robert Shaw recording with Atlanta. Shaw’s choirs were always top-notch, and this no exception. And James Morris and Judith Blegen are in fine voice. Full, fat orchestral version. Lots of goosebumps. Especially the “et lux perpetua” in the first movement and the unison men singing “Hosanna in excelsis” in the Sanctus. As a bonus, you get the beautiful Durufle Requiem.

Edit: I was unfamiliar with the detailed history of this piece, but it seems this Shaw recording actually utilizes the 1893 version, as edited by Rutter in 1984. So, it is not the giant orchestral version (of an unidentified orchestrator) that was popular prior to the Rutter recording referenced above, but the “middle” version scored by Faure in 1893.

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Guys,

Many for me to try.

Thanks for all your contributions.

Regards,

Lindsay

…and a lovely, clear, rich Telarc recording too!

I would also recommend Laurence Equilbey’s version, with Sandrine Piau and Stéphane Degout, both excellent.

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That is the version in my post!

Roger

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Agreed - I wrote that it’s also my choice - sorry if you misunderstood my post.