Work: Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11
About This Work
At all stages of his career, Fauré was visited by suavely persuasive flights of fantasy transcending (or consolidating) the perennial refinement of his style. In the 20-year-old student's Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11 (1865), the serene
ardor of his four-part setting maintains its interest through the three brief stanzas of Racine's prayer -- "Word of God, one with the Most-High.... Pour on us the fire of thy mighty grace" -- with a poise into which his years of apprenticeship at the École Niedermeyer are graciously subsumed. Fauré had been a boarder at the prestigious Parisian music school from his ninth year, absorbing the lore of modal music and Renaissance polyphony which would not enjoy a public revival until the concerts of the Schola Cantorum in the early 1890s.
From Niedermeyer's death in 1861, Fauré was taught by the young Saint-Saëns, who was but a decade older, thus beginning a lifelong friendship which no doubt gave a fillip to the younger man's instinct for lucidity, classical proportion, and the sublimation of passion to supreme, subtly wrought eloquence. The Cantique de Jean Racine took the École Niedermeyer's first prize for composition in 1865, capping Fauré's student years with a prophetic triumph. Looking back in 1905, the mature composer saw fit to orchestrate the work's organ part for small orchestra.
-- Adrian Corleonis, All Music Guide
Select a specific Conductor, Ensemble or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below