Gabriel Faure, The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter - Requiem And Other Sacred Music

Published Saturday 24th April 2010
Gabriel Faure, The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter - Requiem And Other Sacred Music
Gabriel Faure, The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter - Requiem And Other Sacred Music

STYLE: Choral
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Collegium CSCD520

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

It is this reviewer's considered opinion that every collection of sacred choral music must include Faure's Requiem. There is, though, quite a choice of recordings of this classic work and one needs to consider the performance and the extra material that fills up the rest of the CD. The Requiem itself lasts just over half an hour so if that is all that is on offer on the disc questions need to be asked. This welcome reissue at mid-price makes the choice even more difficult. Listen, there is a story worth hearing here. Gabriel Urbain Faure (1845-1924) is now remembered for just one work, his Requiem of 1887. However the version that is usually heard may not be the one that the composer intended as it went through several revisions after its debut. The third and most familiar version with full orchestra was first performed in Paris in 1900 but there is uncertainty as to who prepared the final score and it is clearly recast as a concert piece rather than an act of worship. It was John Rutter who rediscovered the intimate original version in the Bibliothecque Nationale in Paris and Rutter who directed this recording in 1984 with The Cambridge Singers and Members of the City Of London Sinfonia. On this reissue it has been digitally remastered and very good it sounds too. The question as to whether we choose the usual orchestral version or this lighter and brighter edition is impossible to answer. Ideally you should at least hear both. Personally I like the Rutter edition but my wife (who has good taste in most things and is a far more accomplished singer than I) prefers the full orchestral version. So the next consideration should be to look at what fills the rest of the CD. Here we have a full Faure programme with a "Cantique De Jean Racine" also performed by the choir and instrumental ensemble plus four shorter pieces for sopranos, altos, and organ and the "Messe Basse" to conclude. These works confirm that Faure deserves to be known for more than just his Requiem and the fact that this CD is re-issued at mid-price means that it deserves a place in your collection.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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