Hyperion Records

Requiem, Op 48
composer
first performed, before the composition of Offertoire or Libera me, at the Madeleine on 16 January 1888; first complete performance in the same venue on 21 January 1893; version with larger orchestra, probably not approved by Fauré, performed 12 July 1900
author of text

Recordings
'Fauré & Duruflé: Requiem' (CDA67070)
Fauré & Duruflé: Requiem
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 CDA67070  Last few CD copies remaining  
'Fauré: Requiem & other choral works' (CDA30008)
Fauré: Requiem & other choral works
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30008  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Fauré: Requiem & other sacred music' (CDA66292)
Fauré: Requiem & other sacred music
'Remembrance' (CDA67398)
Remembrance
Details
Movement 1: Introit and Kyrie
Track 1 on CDA30008 [6'13] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 1 on CDA66292 [6'13]
Track 1 on CDA67070 [6'13] Last few CD copies remaining
Movement 2: Offertoire
Track 2 on CDA30008 [8'38] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 2 on CDA66292 [8'38]
Track 2 on CDA67070 [8'38] Last few CD copies remaining
Movement 3: Sanctus
Track 3 on CDA30008 [3'12] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 3 on CDA66292 [3'12]
Track 3 on CDA67070 [3'12] Last few CD copies remaining
Movement 4: Pie Jesu
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
Track 5 on CDA30008 [5'40] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 5 on CDA66292 [5'40]
Track 5 on CDA67070 [5'40] Last few CD copies remaining
Movement 6: Libera me
Track 6 on CDA30008 [4'39] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 6 on CDA66292 [4'39]
Track 6 on CDA67070 [4'39] Last few CD copies remaining
Movement 7: In paradisum
Track 7 on CDA30008 [3'28] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 7 on CDA66292 [3'28]
Track 7 on CDA67070 [3'28] Last few CD copies remaining

Requiem, Op 48
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In spite of Poulenc’s waspish dismissal of Fauré’s Requiem as ‘one of the few things I hate in music’, it is indisputably the composer’s most popular work. He began to plan it in 1887 when he jotted down some random ideas in a series of pocket-books. These books reveal that the Requiem was conceived, and the first part of it written down, in C minor—a tone lower than the three separate versions which were eventually completed. There is a rather pedestrian attempt at a ‘Pie Jesu’ in A minor (it returns a little too readily and often to its key-note), but Fauré rejected this in favour of the beautiful melody in B flat major which found its way into all the three versions (1888, 1893, 1900).

Among settings of the Requiem Mass, Fauré’s is unique. It does not adhere to the time-honoured liturgical text, and as the composer saw death as a gentle release from earthly life, the horrors of the Day of Judgement are almost disregarded. The ‘Dies irae’, whose torments Verdi represented in the most vivid terms, is reduced to a brief interpolation in the ‘Libera me’ (‘Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death’), and the work is serene and contemplative, the text purposely chosen to emphasize the word ‘requiem’.

Fauré had no particular reason for writing the Requiem, but while it was in the early stages of composition his mother died, and the first performance, which took place at the Madeleine on 16 January 1888, was a timely memorial. Only five movements were ready: ‘Introit and Kyrie’, ‘Sanctus’, ‘Pie Jesu’, ‘Agnus Dei’ and ‘In paradisum’. The forces required were modest: a mixed choir (with divided tenors and basses), a treble or soprano soloist, and an orchestra comprising lower strings (violas, cellos and double basses), harp, timpani and organ. There is a single violin to play a solo in the ‘Sanctus’, and the organ part is crucial and continuous.

In 1889 Fauré completed the ‘Offertoire’ (part of which he later re-used in the ninth of his piano Preludes, opus 103) and revived a ‘Libera me’ originally written twelve years earlier as an independent piece for baritone voice and organ. Horns, trumpets and trombones were added to the orchestra, the horns having a particularly important role in the ‘Libera me’ and an effective fanfare in the ‘Sanctus’. A baritone soloist was now needed for both the added sections, and this seven-movement version was presented, again at the Madeleine, on 21 January 1893.

It was not until 12 July 1900 that the third, and final, version of the Requiem was performed at the Trocadéro in Paris, with woodwind added to the orchestra and a full body of violins in the ‘Sanctus’, ‘Agnus Dei’, ‘Libera me’ and ‘In paradisum’. But the extent of Fauré’s involvement in this final version is unclear. The orchestra has become unwieldy and various liberties have been taken with the scoring, possibly by Fauré’s pupil Roger-Ducasse. It is hard to believe that a composer of such fastidious judgement as Fauré would have given it his approval. The 1893 version would seem the most convincing compromise.

The work has been described by Jean Chantavoine as ‘a paradisical imagining with no trace of torment or of doubt, scarcely even of mourning’. Temperamentally, Fauré could not tackle a detailed picture of Hell in a ‘Dies irae’, or portray a terrifying scene of anguish. His primary concern was the beauty of his music. The terrors of the afterlife are hardly more than touched upon, and the untroubled mood of the final ‘In paradisum’ differs from, say, a work like The Dream of Gerontius in the absence of any notion of Purgatory. The music of Fauré’s Requiem evokes comfort, dwelling on the fundamentally good nature present in everything.

from notes by Wadham Sutton © 1989

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67070 track 4
Pie Jesu
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-89-29204
Duration
3'57
Recording date
10 February 1989
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Fauré: Requiem & other choral works (CDA30008)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: October 2010
    Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
  2. Fauré: Requiem & other sacred music (CDA66292)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: September 1989
  3. Fauré & Duruflé: Requiem (CDA67070)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: April 1998
    Last few CD copies remaining
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