Gabriel Fauré's Requiem in D minor is among the most popular choral works of the late Romantic era, and the 1888 liturgical version and the 1893 revision are increasingly favored by small groups who are unable or unwilling to mount the full 1900 orchestral version. For his recording with the Flemish Radio Choir and soloists from the Brussels Philharmonic, Hervé Niquet has chosen to perform the first version with some modifications, notably including the complete Offertory and the Libera Me, and assigning the Pie Jesu to the soprano section, rather than to a treble soloist. Niquet clearly prizes the intimacy of the small choir and the more personal tone of the strings, and the chamber orchestra has a distinctive period sound. Perhaps less familiar to listeners are Charles Gounod's Ave Verum and Les sept paroles de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ sur la croix, which have a similar gentleness and soothing tone. These works are sung a cappella, which makes them seem almost austere in comparison with the Fauré, though in a sense Gounod's lush harmonies compensate for the lack of instruments. Niquet has created a balanced program that offers an alternative to the typical presentation of the Requiem with Fauré's other popular choral works, the Cantique de Jean Racine and the Messe basse. It is refreshing to hear the Gounod selections, which should be more widely performed.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Messe de Requiem, Op. 48|
|Les sept paroles du Christ sur la croix|