Gabriel Fauré (12.05.1845 – 04.11.1924) was a French composer and organist who was taught by Saint-Saëns. Fauré composed piano music and songs throughout his life and produced an impressive body of chamber music, almost all of which incorporates a piano, but he appears to have had little interested in orchestration. Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his most highly regarded works in his later years, in a more harmonically and melodically complex style. During the last twenty years of his life, he suffered from increasing deafness and this may, in part, explain why his later works are more turbulent and impassioned.
The Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 is by far the best known of Fauré’s large scale works. The work is in seven movements and features soprano and baritone soloists, a choir, orchestra and organ. It differs from most Requiems in that it omits the Dies irae and replaces it with the very popular Pie Jesu and it terminates with In paradisum. Fauré’s Requiem focuses not on the morbid, but on the supposedly restful and fear-free nature of death. It was performed at Fauré’s own funeral in 1924.
We have selected an outstanding, and very well recorded, performance of the Requiem in D minor, Op. 48. Tenebrae sing magnificently and their sound is well-matched to the acoustic of St Giles’ Cripplegate. The LSO Chamber Ensemble fulfil the orchestral duties admirably and William Gaunt and Grace Davidson prove to be excellent soloists. Under Nigel Short’s direction the work is perfectly paced and it is hard to imagine a better performance of this work. Unfortunately the accompanying Bach pieces don’t quite reach the same heights but this recording is well-worth the cost for the Fauré alone.