Westminster Cathedral Choir

Fauré: Requiem Op. 48

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The fluid and steadily paced rendition of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, Op. 48, by David Hill and the Westminster Cathedral Choir makes this album worth acquiring, even if one already possesses other excellent versions. The Requiem is a durable work that is usually performed well by most skilled ensembles, but this performance is so smoothly sung and gracefully interpreted, with a gentle forward momentum that keeps it from ever being dull, that it feels quite a bit lighter than most recordings. Of course, with Westminster's boys and men, the tone is especially pure and by rights should sound utterly English, but the unstressed syllables and even legato phrasing remind the listener that this is a French composer's setting of the Latin mass for the dead. Fauré's sustained mood of ecstatic calmness is carefully maintained throughout, despite the somewhat anxious expression of the Libera Me, which Hill manages to keep from interrupting of the work's benevolent spirit and easy flow. With performances of the Tantum ergo, Messe basse, Maria Mater gratiae, and a recording of the Cantique de Jean Racine by Christopher Robinson and the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, this is a delightful CD of Fauré's choral music that is especially worthwhile for its main selection, though perhaps of secondary interest for the filler.

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