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Fauré: Requiem / Marriner, Mcnair, Allen


Release Date: 11/14/1995 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 446084   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gabriel FauréCharles KoechlinFlorent SchmittMaurice Ravel
Performer:  Sylvia McNairThomas AllenJohn Birch
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsAcademy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

From having been the standard version, the reorchestrated scoring of Faurê's Requiem has almost become the exception among performances, at least on record. It has certain advantages, quite apart from the matter of practicability which seems to have been its principal raison d'être. The fuller body of tone gives warmth with richer colouring at the few but telling points in which the volume rises to a full forte. What matters then is that the conductor should not take this fuller, more dramatic quality of orchestral sound as an encouragement to slow the pace and endow the utterance with a portentous heaviness foreign to its nature. This happened in several recordings, such as those under Barenboim and Giulini. Fortunately, it is Read more not so here. Marriner and his players have an affectionate approach, with plenty of sensitivity in their shading and no lack of strength either, but all is accomplished at a tempo that has nothing overinsistent or pretentious about it. In fact, the speeds correspond very closely with those of the 1967 recording by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, under Willcocks, which I have to say remains my favourite.

The margin of preference is not very large, but that 1967 version gives more presence to the choir, who also sing with very special distinction of tone and style. The Pie Jesu, too, has a beauty of simplicity and directness in Robert Chilcott's treble which is not quite found in the more sophisticated brand of simplicity cultivated by Sylvia McNair, pure and lovely as her voice undoubtedly is. Thomas Allen is fine, his "Hostias" outstandingly even and controlled, the Libera me perhaps wanting a more evident recognition of the "tremenda" in the Day of which he is singing. The choir, wellbalanced and unspoilt by intrusive vibratos or edgy basses, are highly skilled in maintaining the long line of phrase, especially important in the tenors' "Requiem aeternam" and Agnus Dei. As to mood, that too is nicely judged. Max Harrison's insert-notes quote Faure remarking, with approval, that somebody had called his Requiem "a lullaby of death". The lulling motion of the "Offertoire" supports this, and is well caught here; equally, any touch of the soporific or sanctimonious is avoided, in a performance that achieves tenderness without sentimentality.

The orchestral pieces which follow are suitably chosen, the two Pavanes (Faurê's and Ravel's) being as well-known as the short and contrasting tributes to Faure by Koechlin and Schmitt are likely to register with most listeners as novelties. I find it hard to think of Schmitt's Scherzo as having been originally a piano solo; but then, with those fine sonorities of strings and woodwind, the singing-tone of its languorous melody and the shimmer of its harp glissandos, one would never have supposed Ravel's Pavane to have been written for anything other than orchestra.

-- Gramophone [1/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Requiem, Op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Sylvia McNair (Soprano), Thomas Allen (Baritone), John Birch (Organ)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887-1890; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1993 
Language: Latin 
2.
Pavane, Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1993 
Language: French 
3.
Choral sur le nom de Fauré by Charles Koechlin
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 01/1993 
4.
In memoriam Gabriel Fauré, Op. 72 by Florent Schmitt
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922-1935; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1993 
5.
Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1993 
Notes: Orchestrated: Maurice Ravel (1910) 

Sound Samples

Requiem, Op.48: 1. Introitus: Requiem aeternam - Kyrie
Requiem, Op.48: 2. Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
Requiem, Op.48: 3. Sanctus
Requiem, Op.48: 4. Pie Jesu
Requiem, Op.48: 5. Agnus Dei
Requiem, Op.48: 6. Libera me
Requiem, Op.48: 7. In paradisum
Pavane, Op.50
Choral sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré
In memoriam Gabriel Fauré: 2. Scherzo
Pavane pour une infante défunte - Orchestral version

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