Gabriel Fauré

Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48

    Description by Adrian Corleonis

    Given the enormous and enduring popularity of Fauré's Requiem, it is curious to contemplate the sheer haphazardness by which this familiar masterpiece took shape. The initial version of 1887-1888 included but five movements, lacking the Offertorium and the Libera me, and was scored moreover for mixed choir and organ, harp, tympani, violas, and cellos divided, and double basses, with a boy soprano (for the Pie Jesu), and a solo violin for the Sanctus. This version was first heard at the Madeleine, where Fauré was choirmaster, on January 16, 1888, with children taking the soprano choral parts and the young Louis Aubert singing the Pie Jesu. These gentle prayers were found to be dangerous "novelties" by the Madeleine's vicar, and the composer was reprimanded for them immediately following the ceremony. By May, two trumpets and two horns had been added. And in June 1889, the Offertorium was composed and added with a Libera me dating from 1877. Parts for trombones, bassoons, and violins were sketched and may have been included in a performance at the Madeleine on January 21, 1893 -- the manuscripts are ambiguous. Likewise, it is not known whether the elision of several bars from the Kyrie was made before or after that performance. Attempts to reconstruct the intimate, "authentic" 1893 chamber ensemble version of the Requiem have yielded two editions: one by composer and choral director John Rutter, the other by Fauré scholar Jean-Michel Nectoux. Although similar, these editions differ in details of both scoring and text. Meanwhile, a third and final version of the Requiem with full orchestra was prepared in 1899, though it has been impossible to establish whether the instrumentation is Fauré's or that of his pupil, Jean Roger-Ducasse. This "symphonic" Requiem -- the version most often performed and recorded -- had its premiere at the Trocadéro, July 12, 1900, with a chorus of 250, a Torrès taking the Pie Jesu (a number that had to be encored), Eugène Gigout at the organ, and the orchestra and chorus of the Conservatoire under the direction of Paul Taffanel.

    Throughout, the suggestion of Gregorian chant informed by modern measure and melos lends Fauré's idiom immediate appeal and an aura of timelessness at once. The Requiem's seven movements form an arch whose keystone and crown is the central Pie Jesu -- the lone voice petitioning its savior for eternal rest in long-breathed, classically balanced, tender, and infinitely moving phrases -- flanked by the serene lift of the Sanctus (over which an exquisite violin cantilena wafts) and the gently consoling Agnus Dei. Coming before and after, respectively, the somber Offertorium and Libera me are reminders of judgment, the more effective for being understated, with their baritone solos standing forth from the choral body to plead for deliverance and rest. At the extreme points, the opening darkly hued Introit and Kyrie are balanced by the sublime radiance of the final In Paradisum -- "There may the choir of angels receive thee, and, with Lazarus, once a beggar, mayst thou have eternal rest."

    Parts/Movements

    1. Introitus et Kyrie
    2. Offertorium
    3. Sanctus
    4. Pie Jesu
    5. Agnus Dei
    6. Libera me
    7. In Paradisum

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2014 OSJ Alive
    2014 OSJ Alive OSJCD 01
    2014 King's College Choir KGS 0005
    2014 Evil Penguin Records Classic EPR 15
    2013 Sony Classical 7720392
    2013 Mark Custom Recording / Mark Records 50542 MCD
    2012 Naïve 5301
    2012 Virgin Classics / Warner Classics 5099923228
    2012 LSO Live LS 00728
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca 4783354
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099962308
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Naxos 8501062
    2012 ABC Classics 344862
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Sony Classical 88697911082
    2011 Decca
    2011 Haenssler / Haenssler Classics HAEN 98628
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 509990709212
    2011 Brilliant Classics 93947
    2011 Erato
    2011 Alto 1078
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908518
    2011 Ars Musici 232177
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Fab Four 233113
    2010 Hyperion CDA 30008
    2010 Decca
    2010 Collegium / Collegium Records 520
    2010 EMI Music Distribution 965933
    2010 Cascavelle 3135
    2010 EMI Classics / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 50999906820
    2009 Erato
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099968635
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 House of Classics 220108
    2009 Decca 4781734
    2008 Coro 16057
    2008 Naïve 5137
    2008 Naïve V5145
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 724382666127
    2008 Maestro Music / Warner Classics 4696553
    2008 EMI Classics 379994
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 501292
    2007 Mirare 28
    2007 Dies 200712
    2007 Philips
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946379989
    2007 BBC Legends / BBC Music 42212
    2006 Musica Di Angeli 99181
    2006 BIS 1206
    2006 Decca / Eloquence 4674562
    2006 Arte Nova 304670
    2006 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946375906
    2005 Warner Classics
    2005 Virgin 45318
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4745622
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 PentaTone Classics 5186020
    2005 Regis Records 1028
    2005 Blue Saphir 1007
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 57851
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 49880
    2005 Harmonia Mundi 2908181
    2004 Griffin 4044
    2004 ABC Classics 4720452
    2004 Koch 7558
    2004 RCA Red Seal 55303
    2003 Chandos 10113
    2003 Chandos 5019
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 801292
    2003 Scandinavian Classics 220547
    2003 Hungaroton 31424
    2003 Rca Red Seal 74321987262
    2003 Universal Distribution 9800261
    2002 Sony Classical 89791
    2002 Harmonia Mundi 901771
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74728
    2002 Testament 1266
    2001 Harmonia Mundi 2981292
    2001 DG Deutsche Grammophon 469268
    2001 Rene Gailly 87162
    2000 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243573732
    2000 Seraphim Classics
    2000 Philips 464701
    2000 Disky 70594
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 66946
    1999 Disques Pierre Verany 730096
    1999 BBC Legends 40262
    1999 Classico 241
    1999 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459365
    1999 Decca 4663552
    1998 CRD Records 3466
    1998 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 724356689428
    1998 Arte Nova 30467
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 72811
    1998 Hyperion 67070
    1998 New York Philharmonic 9701
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 569647
    1997 Disky 703122
    1997 Teldec 17897
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 67182
    1997 Carlton 6600092
    1997 RCA Victor 68659
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 41512
    1997 Naxos 8 556679
    1996 London 452 304-2DCS
    1996 DG Deutsche Grammophon 449846
    1995 Philips 446084
    1995 London 436286
    1995 Carlton 2015
    1994 Teldec 90879
    1994 Naxos 550765
    1994 Philips 438149
    1994 Conifer 15351
    1994 Gothic Records 49062
    1993 EMI Classics 64715
    1992 Erato 45116
    1992 Erato 45813
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 64634
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901292
    1991 London 430360
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 63783
    1989 Hyperion 66292
    1989 EMI Music Distribution 47836
    1989 CBS Records 44738
    1988 Collegium Records 109
    1988 London 421440
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 761025-2
    1987 DG Deutsche Grammophon 419243
    1987 Telarc Distribution 80135
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Platz 573
    Intaglio 703
    Adda 590086
    6w 52
    FNAC Music 592097
    REM 311096
    Ars Musici 1106
    Ades 20478
    Musica Di Angeli 99189
    Erato 40006
    Ades 20298
    Erato
    MCA 6199
    RPO 7007
    Angel Records 67251
    EMI Music Distribution 69858
    BBC Music Magazine 77
    Ambassador 1016
    API Records 9015
    Arion 610004
    Priory Records
    Testament 1240
    New York Philharmonic 9708/09
    Mm Records 77