In actual fact, it really is Michel Legrand, composer of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, conducting this 1993 recording of the Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé. But while one might question Legrand qualifications, one cannot dispute these deeply felt and profoundly moving performances. In both works, Legrand uses the full orchestral version and while one might fear that the Ambrosian Singers and Philharmonia Orchestra might be too phlegmatically English for either the French music or the French conductor, their performances are actually clear, colorful, and filled with light and air. And although those qualities might seem contraindicated in works such as the Requiems, the Fauré and Duruflé Requiems are not the Verdi or the Brahms' Requiems. They are not the works of devout agnostics who feared that there might be life after death, but the works of devout Catholics who believed in the Resurrection and the Life of the world to come. Thus, Legrand's open-hearted and essentially hopeful interpretations are ideal for two consoling Requiems that end In Paradisum. The American solo singing is first class throughout: soprano Barbara Bonney is ethereal, mezzo soprano Jennifer Larmore is soulful, and baritone Thomas Hampson is manful. Teldec's sound is warm, but perhaps a little too reverberant.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48|
|Requiem, for orchestra, organ & chorus; for organ & chorus; for small ensemble, organ & chorus, Op. 9 (3 versions)|