Colin Davis / Lucia Popp

Fauré: Requiem

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Even though this album of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem in D minor runs just under 40 minutes and lacks any of the filler items that usually accompany this work, such as Fauré's shorter choral pieces, this recording is still worth possessing because it offers one of the finest performances available. Colin Davis is especially sympathetic to this style of music, and his 1985 interpretation, originally released on Philips, is profound and moving. His direction of the Rundfunkchor Leipzig and the Staatskapelle Dresden emphasizes the gravity of the Requiem text as well as the serene beauty of Fauré's setting, so tempos are slow and the tone is somber, if also a little weighty because of the full textures of the orchestra. Yet anyone seeking a performance that is as affecting as it is sumptuous will find this rendition well-balanced, compelling, and appropriate to the composer's period. Baritone Simon Estes delivers the solos in the Domine Jesu Christe and the Libera me with solemn dignity, and soprano Lucia Popp is sublime in the Pie Jesu. The sound is DDD and feels quite warm and inviting, in contrast to many other early digital recordings.

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