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Faure: Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine / Equilbey, Piau, Degout, Accentus

Release Date: 11/18/2008 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 5137   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Stèphane DegoutChristophe HenryLuc HérySandrine Piau
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  AccentusMaitrise de ParisNational Orchestra d'Ile de France
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 41 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

From the critically acclaimed Laurence Equilbey and Accentus arrives a brand new recording of the French choral masterwork, brilliantly presented and performed. A perfectly matched union of repertoire and artistry that exemplifies the unique the style and artistry of the Naive label.

Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine
by Denis Herlin

The Requiem ranks among the most frequently performed and most admired works of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). Yet we had to wait until 1994 for the first publication of the version originally conceived by the composer. In 1969, the musicologist Jean-Michel Nectoux, author of numerous studies of Fauré, discovered the parts used
Read more for the first performances of the Requiem in the archives of the church of La Madeleine in Paris, where the composer was ma”tre de chapelle from 1877, then organist from 1896 to 1905. The forces corresponded to those of a chamber orchestra (two horns in F, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, a harp, a few violas and cellos, one or two double basses, and organ, not forgetting a solo violin in the Sanctus) and not full symphony orchestra (as in what had been the official version since 1901). Hence, thanks to the publication of a new edition of the Requiem, this splendid work of sacred music was at last to regain its intimate, inward character. The reversion to the original was all the more justified since it was the publisher Hamelle who, despite having signed a contract with Fauré on 16 September 1890, insisted he revise the Requiem for large orchestra, on the pretext that smaller instrumental forces would limit the work's chances of diffusion. What is more, we still do not know if Fauré himself made the orchestral version of 1901 or entrusted this delicate task to one of his pupils, Jean Roger-Ducasse for example, as he did fairly regularly during the years after 1900.

Although most of the Requiem was written between the death of the composer's father in 1885 and that of his mother in 1888, there seems to be no specific link with these successive bereavements. The composition answered neither to a pre-established plan nor to particular circumstances, as Fauré revealed in a letter to Maurice Emmanuel dating from the second decade of the century: ÔMy Requiem was composed for no reason Ð for pleasure, if I may venture to say so!' The few surviving sketches of the piece show that he began work on it in the late summer of 1887, and initially thought of using the key of C minor, before finally opting for D minor. Of the seven sections that make it up, five were written between October 1877 and January 1888: (1) Intro•t et Kyrie, (3) Sanctus (manuscript dated 9 January 1888), (4) Pie Jesu (manuscript lost), (5) Agnus Dei (manuscript dated 6 January 1888), and (7) In Paradisum. These numbers were all performed on 16 January 1888 at the funeral of a parishioner, Joseph Lesoufaché, an architect who enjoyed a certain celebrity in his time. In an interview in 1902, Fauré declared, not without a touch of humour: ÔPerhaps I also instinctively tried to get away from the well-trodden paths. I've accompanied funeral services on the organ for so long! I've had them up to here. I wanted to do something else.' This first draft of the Requiem was revived four times between 16 January and 4 May 1888, which gave Fauré the opportunity to expand the initial forces by adding two horns and two trumpets. The last performance, on 4 May, was organised independently of any religious ceremony, thanks to the generosity of the Comtesse de Greffulhe, and was reviewed in the Guide musical by the critic Camille Beno”t. The young Louis Aubert, later a talented pianist and composer, recalled with emotion having sung the Pie Jesu at this final hearing of the work in 1888. According to the organist Louis Vierne, the five sections of this first version of the Requiem were given again at La Madeleine in 1890 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
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Works on This Recording

Requiem, Op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Stèphane Degout (Baritone), Christophe Henry (Organ), Luc Héry (Violin),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus,  Maitrise de Paris,  National Orchestra d'Ile de France
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887-1890; France 
Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Luc Héry (Violin), Stèphane Degout (Baritone),
Christophe Henry (Organ)
Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus,  Maitrise de Paris,  National Orchestra d'Ile de France
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; France 

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