Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|John Carol Case, Stephen Roberts, Gabriel Faure|
Listen to Samples
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 06/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE GRAMOPHONE PUBLICATION : 'The Faure recording is as near as can be to absolute perfection from start to finish...highest praise must go to David Willcocks for his inspiring and sensitive direction. Durufle expresses profundities with the most restrained and subtle of musical means and Philip Ledger's performance is scrupulously responsive to such restraint and subtlety.' To which I heartily agree!!!!
The Faure was recorded in 1968, while the Durufle was recorded in 1981, but both choirs are equally excellent, as is very typical of all of the King's College choirs. Their diction is clear and precise, their delivery is spirited; the boy sopranos sail effortlessly into the stratisphere whle the velvet-toned mellow male altos lend their typical 'warm'sound to the harmony,; the tenors are tuneful and the basses are bouyant. All of this produces that glorius quality of sound that seems to escape many other choirs.
In addition the soloists (not used that often) are excellent, and I personally enjoyed hearing, even briefly, the marvelous sound of Janet Baker. I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent organist, Johnn Butt, who accompanies and solos in the Durefle. The Faure is capably accompanied by the New Philharmonia Orchestra. A truly wonderful listening experience!!!!
Max-Factor | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with all the thoughtful comments of the previous reviewer. From start to finish this recording and performance gets A+. There are no weaknesses here. Highly recommended. With the EMI Classics, I have made some purchases that I was disappointed with from an audio perspective. Case in point would be some of the recordings from the piano great Dinu Lipatti - however EMI obviously worked very hard and was successful in conveying the emotional content of Lipatti's performances from the 50's. This recording is no different - the spiritual content comes across with emphasis and on the audio is very balanced. The choir has been captured with great transparency. It's a beautiful sound that transports the listener to another place - great way to switch off and enjoy a very pleasant musical experience."
Tahnks to the English
Tony L. Engleton CNMT | COLVILLE, WA USA | 02/01/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The English have done it again. I own the cd reording of this work on EMI and the Faure only. But here is a disk for under $10 that includes the customary companion work of Durulfe, his Mass for the Dead WITH the Faure both with the same artists. I may add this one to my collection. So, this review is of Faure's Requiem only.
There are three versions of this beautiful creation. The original dates from it's inception of 1887-1888 and is scored for mixed choir, a quartet each of violas, celli a few doublebasses, a harp, tympani, organ and a solo violin (heard only in the Sanctus). Talk about easy money. I believe the vocal soloist is a boy soprano and the whole thing was intended for church use. Was it to be changed later by the composer? I don't know. In 1893, Faure added two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets and three trombones, I think, as well as a baritone and re-published as the 2nd Version. Around 1900 he added more strings (violins) and some of the customary winds and, I supose, it became more common to hear in the concert hall. I have recordings of all three types and generally prefer the middle version to either the first or least of all, the one for full orchestra. If I want BIG rich sound, I'll turn to Brahms or Berlioz. Faure has always struck me as intimate and personel. So,was this version for male-only choir part in Faure's overall plans? I wonder.
Irregardless, a setting for male voices alone is always welcome, as are females only, simply because of the beauty of their respective concentrations. Mixed chois are ok, but I really enjoy them on their own. This is one of the world's best, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge under the steady and shaping hands of David Willcocks. He's been turning out the highest quality for years now, and the music catalogues are full of his fine work. I find him more than compitent as a conductor of chamber orchestras as well, and one might try to guess if he has had as much trainning with intstrumentalists as he has with singers.
The opening Introit/Kyrie is strongly stated with deep strings and low brass underpinning the ardent plea from the choir. Treatment by different sub-choirs make up the development section and, spiritually the work closes on a somber note. The larger Ofertorie begins with the angelic intonation on 'O Domino...." and continues until the soft and adoring baritone at "Hostias..." Returning choristers seem even more eathereal at the second 'O Domino..." and slowly and ever so devoutly close to a soaring "Amen," a moment that lifts one out of oneself. Unfortunatley, I hear a bit of distortion here and a bit earlier if my volume is a little too high. Perhaps, it is just my copy. Anyone have the same experience?
The "Sanctus" features our beautiful solo violin floating above the fermament and weaving it's way through mens and boys voices along with the rythmic chords of the harp. The Sanctus in the Roman Rite is the closest thing we get to a Gloria and Faure treats it with the appropriate level of power and reverence. "Pie Jesu" is and always has been, to me, a bit unimpressive. It is somewhat boring music, and I think Faure should have done more with it. Still, young Robert Chilcott does a nice job. "Agnus Dei" is music of great comforting warmth and the King's Choir men do an excellent job. The key modulation at "et lux aeterna.." is stunning and will linger in your conciousness for the rest of you listening. The "Libera me." is the second solo part for baritone and puts him more forward than in the Ofertorie; in emphasis as well as in performance. The reason is subject matter. More urgency in Libera me than in a hymn of offering. Part seven is the famous and over used "In Paradisium; " overused in pop-culture in "hits" like
'Legend a of Bagger Vance," and "American Beauty, " to a pretty good "Thin Red Line." Still, it's not Faure's fault he wrote such a catchy tune. The real meaning, of course, is totally lost on Hollywood. The rythmic up and down scale of the organ over fluttering strings is very nice indeed, and a melody that I'm sure Faure was expert at playing himself. The fullness of the strings rises seamlessly above the texture and with wind and some soft brass assists the choir in bringing this gorgeous work to it's very natural and logical close.
The consolation of the loved ones and friends is complete and we are left with only cherished memories. This is not much unlike the after efefect of "Ein Deutsches Requiem." If I were a symphony conductor, I would refrain from performing Faure in a hall. He belongs in the Church, with Her angels and Her saints and, hopefully, Gabriel Faure.
As an after thought, I have read that Faure was somewhat of an agnostic. Some claim he was an atheist.
I'm not sure, but I AM sure this is music of great beauty, both artisticlly and spritually. I find it a challenge to understand how a composer could create such heavenly music and not have any real deep feelings about his subject. Scholars often explain it as a matter of pure creative effort. Is that enough? I would appreciate any comments from my fellow reviewers, thank you.