Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Year's Music: Faure's Requiem and Pavane

Here's are two old favorites, for over thirty years! For a long time I had the Seraphim Records LP, King's College Choir conducted by David Wilcocks. Then my daughter's Ohio choir performed the piece during the 00s, which was wonderful.

The requiem is appealingly gentle and consoling throughout, even the short Dies Irae sequence (incorporated in the Libera Me section) is comparatively peaceful next to the famously scary versions of Mozart, Verdi and others. Faure composed this "lullaby of death" in the 1880s, conducted the premier in 1888, but continued to revised it prior to its 1900 publication. He wanted to emphasize the aspect of rest, and so the requiem gives one a peaceful sense of that aspect of death. It is short, about 35 minutes., with the Kyrie followed by the Offertory, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, Libera me, and In Paradisum.

Yesterday (April 30) was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of conductor Robert Shaw, and here is Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus:

I add the Pavane because, on the Wilcock recording, it filled out Side 2 of the LP, and I like to think of them together. Listening to it for the first time, I had such an experience of knowing this piece, as if it was from a long time ago, although I was only in my early 20s and had no memory of the piece prior to that. Here is that recording:

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