G. Fauré, Requiem Mass / Cantique de Jean Racine, S. Piau, S. Degout, Accentus, L. Equilbey
(released on November 18, 2008)
Naïve V 5137
The best option for a reference recording of the Fauré Requiem is the original 1893 orchestration, for chamber orchestra (two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, harp, violas, cellos, double basses, organ, solo violin), which is what is recorded here, rather than the later augmentation for full orchestra, which may have been carried out for publication by Fauré's student Jean Roger-Ducasse and is found in many older recordings. The 1893 version of the score was not published until 1994, after the parts were discovered in the archives of the Eglise de La Madeleine, where Fauré was maître de chapelle and organist, by musicologist Jean-Michel Nectoux. Although not recorded at La Madeleine, where Fauré led the premiere of the work (to commemorate the death of King Louis XVI, a royalist association that does not attach much to the work anymore), this recording benefits from the acoustic of the church of Sainte-Clotilde, in the 7e arrondissment, which provides a warm, resonant background for luscious sound. The organ of Sainte-Clotilde, a legendary Cavaillé-Coll instrument inaugurated by César Franck and updated by Charles Tournemire and Jean Langlais, produces an extraordinary range of sounds in the hands of Christophe Henry (much of the original sound has been restored in recent renovations of the organ).