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Thread: What is your Favorite Faure Requiem.

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    Default What is your Favorite Faure Requiem.

    Mine is Philippe Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale Gent, La Chapelle Royale

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Lucia Popp (soprano), Simon Estes (bass) Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sir Colin Davis.


    Kathleen Battle (soprano) & Andreas Schmidt (baritone)Philharmonia Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini.

    In that order.
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    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    1) Caroline Ashton (soprano) & Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Cambridge Singers & Members of the City of London Sinfonia, John Rutter

    2) Kathleen Battle (soprano) & Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Philharmonia Chorus & Philharmonia Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini.
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    My personal favorite is Marriner's. Sylvia McNair has a unique way of floating above her vocal line in her solo. That one also has my favorite recording of Ravel's Pavane.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    My personal favorite is Marriner's. Sylvia McNair has a unique way of floating above her vocal line in her solo. That one also has my favorite recording of Ravel's Pavane.
    I have this one too. Sylvia McNair can do no wrong, afaic.
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    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Every single recording of Faures Requiem is my favorite. EVERY SINGLE! I love so much the Frenchman that my taste with him is a little bit flat.
    Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis;
    das Unzulängliche, hier wird's Ereignis;
    das Unbeschreibliche, hier ist's getan;
    das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.

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    Senior Member D Smith's Avatar
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    Lucia Popp, Sigmund Nimsgern, Andrew Davis/New Philharmonia/Ambrosian Singers

    also

    Kiri Te Kanawa, Sherrill Milnes, Dutoit/Montreal Symphony & Chorus

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    I've listened to every one I believe. My favourite is the one by Matthew Best. For a faster version it is Ross Pople's.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    In any discussion of the 'best' recordings of Faure's Requiem, I think it's first necessary (& helpful) to lay out the history of the work, as the Requiem had a lengthy gestation period. The following two part post stems from research that I did many years ago, although I didn't retain my notes (unfortunately), so I'm mostly writing from memory (with some help from Wikipedia). Nevertheless, I hope people will find the history of the Requiem both interesting and informative:

    Faure's beautiful Requiem had a long, complicated genesis. There are several different versions of the work, so I find it difficult to pick a single favorite recording. I remember all the excitement back in the 1980s, when the first recordings of the original "lost" 1893 chamber version came out. 1893 was the year that Faure conducted the premiere of the full 7 movement work, which he'd been working on since 1887, after having completed the 4th & 5th movements in 1888-89, and the "Offertory" and additional "Libera me" in 1890 (Faure actually composed the "Libera me" in 1877, as a separate work, and then later decided to add it to his Requiem). John Rutter was the first to record the 1893 chamber version in 1984, but he didn't have access to a set of orchestral parts that Faure had left behind at La Madeleine church in Paris, where Faure worked as the organist for many years, and where he first conducted the completed Requiem on January 21st, 1893. This set of 1893 instrumental parts was discovered at La Madeleine in 1968 by the French musicologist and noted Faure scholar, Jean-Michel Nectoux, and while I gather he discussed his discovery with Rutter, Nectoux was in the process of making his own 1893 edition at the time (with Roger Delage), and understandably, didn't share the set of parts with Rutter.

    Therefore, for his orchestration Rutter relied on the only surviving manuscript of Faure's earlier 1890 performance at La Madeleine of an incomplete 5 movement version of the Requiem: which consisted of the Introit & Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and In Paradisum movements. Rutter mistakenly claimed that he'd "rediscovered" the 1890 manuscript at the Bibliothéque Nationale, but, in truth, scholars had already known about its existence since the 1920s (including Nectoux). The original manuscript of the Pie Jesu is lost--so, like others, Rutter had to use the later 1901 published version of the Pie Jesu.

    Which meant that Rutter was forced to create his own orchestration for the post-1890 additions that Faure made to his score prior to the 1893 premiere at La Madeleine. Hence, Rutter's recording & his 1989 edition aren't entirely in accordance with Faure's 1893 version. The journal "Music and Letters" even described Rutter's edition as "makeshift and lacking in the standards of scholarship one expects from a university press." Nevertheless, Rutter's actual performance of the Requiem is very fine, and one of my favorites, even if some of the orchestration was done by Rutter, and not Faure.

    The first recording of Nectoux's as yet unpublished 1893 edition was made by Philippe Herreweghe in 1988. Herreweghe's performance is based on two additional source materials that weren't available to Rutter, including the set of instrumental parts that Nectoux discovered at La Madeleine, as noted, and "a score made in the 1890s by a bass in the Madeleine choir and annotated by Fauré" (quoted from Wikipedia--see footnote below*). Moreover, Herreweghe's singers used an older French Latin pronunciation in their vowels & consonants, as would have been the case at La Madeleine in 1893. (Amusingly, one reviewer on Amazon criticizes the "incorrect" Latin pronunciation of Herreweghe's French singers.) The performance is therefore closer to the version that Faure premiered in 1893, and should be considered more authentic than Rutter's recording. However, both performances are excellent, in my view, despite Rutter's hastiness to be the first to record the 'lost' chamber version. Rutter's "In Paradisum" movement, for instance, is exceptionally beautiful and 'other worldly', & as an admirer of this music, I wouldn't want to be without it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvYt-QA9vT0

    I should also mention that Faure said he didn't want the baritone soloist to sing in an 'operatic' style, but rather to sing in a more 'cantor-like' manner. Which is something to keep in mind when sampling the various recordings on the market, & not just the ones of the 1893 church version, in my opinion. In addition, the beautiful Pie Jesu movement was originally composed by Faure to be sung by a boy treble, since no female singers were allowed by the church authorities to take part in the services at La Madeleine, (being a conservative Roman Catholic church). Accordingly, Rutter and Herreweghe used female singers that sound similar to boy trebles in the Pie Jesu--Caroline Ashton for Rutter, and Agnès Mellon for Herreweghe (although neither sounds as 'boy-like' as soprano Camilla Otaki, on Richard Marlow's 1994 recording). Fortunately too, neither woman sings the Pie Jesu in a 'showy' operatic manner, or uses a heavy vibrato, which would be totally out of place, considering the church setting that the music was originally composed for, and the sacred meaning of the text.

    John Rutter:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Sl...T1-y5ojEFtxtIk
    https://www.amazon.com/Faure-Requiem...requiem+rutter
    The more recent reissue: https://www.amazon.com/Faure-Requiem...requiem+rutter

    Philippe Herreweghe (the first recording to use Faure's actual 1893 chamber orchestration):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGztwAmOjhg
    https://www.amazon.com/Faure-Requiem...rreweghe+faure
    https://www.amazon.com/Faur%C3%A9-Re...EGQ11QG6EW2TZG

    However, Nectoux & Delage's final edition of the 1983 chamber version wasn't published until 1994, some six years after Herreweghe's 1988 recording, and I gather during the intervening years, Nectoux & Delage made some further revisions to their edition. Not surprisingly, when the edition was finally published in 1994, it supplanted Rutter's 1989 edition as the more authoritative and complete edition of Faure's 1893 Requiem. This revised 1994 edition was then recorded by John Eliot Gardiner, with soprano Catharine Bott and tenor Gilles Cachmaille, both of whom are excellent, along with Gardiner's brilliant Monteverdi Choir. Gardiner's recording is another standout version, in my view: https://www.amazon.com/Faur%C3%A9-Re...BDCTA04PX4CYB7

    Then, towards the end of the 1890s, it appears that Faure's publisher, Julien Hamelle, requested that the composer create a 'concert hall' version of the Requiem--possibly in conjunction with a future performance at the upcoming 1900 Exposition in Paris. Years before, Hamelle had initially agreed to publish the 1893 church version, but for some reason never followed through with it. Then, in the years after the La Madeleine premiere, Faure continued to tinker with the score, expanding the orchestration. Hence, Hamelle may have asked Faure to create a 'concert' version some years earlier than is supposed, with the idea that it would be more commercially viable than a church version. Indeed, such a scenario would explain why Hamelle didn't initially publish the 1893 score, as promised--assuming that Faure had agreed with him, or been persuaded by Hamelle to put together a non-church version.

    In compliance, Faure appears to have asked his student, Jean Roger-Ducasse, to create, or assist him in creating a more expanded orchestral & vocal version, which is the score that was premiered at the Trocadero Palace for the 1900 Exposition in Paris. The Trocadero performance used a total of 250 musicians and choral singers!, and was a success. Hence, Roger-Ducasse & possibly Faure and his publisher had re-imagined the work on a much grander scale, more along the lines of Requiems by Berlioz & Verdi. This 1900 orchestral version was then published by Hamelle in 1901, and became the version by which the Requiem was known & used for nearly all performances and recordings prior to Rutter's 1984 recording. However, the published "concert" score was riddled with errors, and can't be considered an ideal or definitive score. Rutter describes it as inept & "slipshod". Evidently, the score needed to be further corrected & worked into a final edition, despite that Faure had allowed it to be published in 1901, apparently without proof reading it.

    In the 1980s, when the initial recordings of the 1893 church version were first released, they were promoted as containing Faure's original thoughts & intentions for his Requiem, and rightly so. However, it should be pointed out that Faure wasn't averse to a large scale orchestral presentation of his Requiem, either, and may have even preferred it (or been swayed to prefer it by his publisher, due to the 1901 score's later popularity). Indeed, after the 1900 premiere at the Trocadero, Faure conducted the "concert" version many times in Paris, & elsewhere in France and Europe too, where it became immensely popular, & he thoroughly enjoyed its success. Therefore, I think it's fair to say that Faure approved of the larger scale 'concert' presentation of his Requiem. He even remarked to violinist Eugene Ysäye, who took part in a 1921 Belgian performance, that he thought the additional violins were "angelic" in the Sanctus, and at another performance complained that the orchestra was" too small". In addition, for the "concert" performances given during Faure's lifetime, the "Pie Jesu" was always sung by a female soloist, and women singers were additionally used in the choir--in contrast to the Roman Catholic practices at La Madeleine for the original 1893 version. Thus, we have two different performing traditions of the Requiem, which both, more or less, go back to Faure, albeit with some possible persuading by his publisher, in regards to the expanded 1901 score.

    After finishing his 1994 edition, Nectoux went on to create a new 'corrected' edition of the 1901 Hamelle score, with scholar Reiner Zimmerman, which was published in 2001. As with his previous edition, Nectoux's new 1901 edition was similarly based on all the available original source materials, and again was first recorded by Philippe Herreweghe, in 2007--the 2nd of his two recordings of the Requiem. It's a beautiful performance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxXVWbHHAGA
    https://www.amazon.com/Collegium-Voc...iem+Herreweghe

    However, that may not be quite the end of the story! As another one of Faure's pupils, Nadia Boulanger first performed the Requiem as a student organist in two performances given in January of 1920, at the Societe des Concerts at the Paris Conservatoire, during the last year of Faure's directorship at the Conservatoire. The flautist/composer Philippe Gaubert conducted both performances, and Faure attended them. Intriguingly, the 1901 published score was used, and on her copy, Boulanger made notes & corrections to the score, which she later used for the many performances that she conducted throughout her long career, including a total of her four recordings of the Requiem (the last being made for the BBC in 1967). According to Nectoux, Boulanger tidied up the 1901 'concert' version--"correcting pitches and reconciling dynamics and articulation"--and therefore, brought the 1901 score into a more accurate form. Nectoux thinks that Boulanger's heavily marked Hamelle score contains markings that she made in subsequent years, even decades later. But surely some of the earliest markings on Boulanger's score were made for the two 1920 performances that Faure attended?, & which Gaubert conducted. What intrigues me here is that Faure autographed Boulanger's copy of the score (today in the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris). Which makes me wonder whether or not Boulanger might have discussed some of her corrections to the 1901 published score with Faure (likely with Gaubert present), in preparation for the 1920 performances? After all, she was Faure's student at the Paris Conservatoire, and so she had easy access to his thoughts on the subject.

    Unfortunately, we can't know precisely when Faure signed Boulanger's score, and therefore, whether it was a brand new score at the time, & as yet unmarked by Boulanger--which would make his signature more of an affectionate gesture or gift (as has been suggested), or whether Faure signed the score after Boulanger had made a significant number of corrections to it, and possibly even after he'd heard and approved of Gaubert's two performances. As the organist for both performances (and as a student of Faure's at the Conservatoire), Boulanger likely assisted in the preparation of the score, or at least would have copied down any corrections that Gaubert made at Faure's suggestion. (Interestingly, Debussy's student, Marcel Ciampi, had a similarly marked score of his teacher's Preludes, which contains extensive hand written notes and even written remarks by Debussy himself--so presumably it was common practice in those days for a student to get their teacher's thoughts and input written onto their scores.) And therefore, the question becomes--did Boulanger make the earliest markings on her 1901 Hamelle score in consultation with Faure? (or possibly through Faure's instructions to Gaubert, at the time?). In other words, did Faure help or advise her in any way to tidy up the errors in the 1901 Hamelle score? If so, then his signature may be more than just a kind gesture, as it may be meant to signal Faure's stamp of approval regarding the two performances that he'd heard in 1920.

    In addition, I'd be interested to know who conducted the performance of the Requiem at Faure's funeral in 1924, considering that the 1901 orchestral version was again chosen. Did Boulanger take part in that performance, as well, considering her previous close familiarity with the score? Indeed, it would be fascinating to learn if either Boulanger or Gaubert had taken part in the performance at Faure's funeral in 1924, as it would again closely connect them to the composer & his Requiem.

    What makes this even more intriguing is that Boulanger made similar extensive markings to her score of one of Igor Stravinsky's works, "Dumbarton Oaks", and initially did so in 1938 in close consultation with Stravinsky, who, like Faure, she knew. Boulanger and Stravinsky had worked together through the first two movements of the score in detail on the piano, and then Boulanger later conducted the work's premiere in Boston. So I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to suppose that she may have gone through a similiar process with her heavily marked score of her teacher's Requiem: a score that she likewise treasured and conducted from throughout the rest of her life, in the same way that she treasured and held onto her heavily marked score of "Dumbarton Oaks" (and likewise continued to conduct from it for the rest of her life, even though Stravinsky afterwards sent her a more legible final full score). Hence, both scores were precious and irreplaceable to Boulanger. So it seems likely to me that some of her markings were made in consultation with Faure, just as they had been with Stravinsky on her "Dumbarton Oaks" score.

    As for Boulanger's four recordings of the Requiem, there is an old EMI References recording with Boulanger conducting--which was released on CD in 1988, as well as several live recordings that Boulanger conducted at Oberlin College, Carnegie Hall, and for the BBC. Interestingly, when a Gramophone critic favorably reviewed her BBC Archives recording, he was perplexed as to why Boulanger favored the 1901 orchestral version of the Requiem over the earlier chamber version, having been one of Faure's pupils. Evidently, he didn't know about the two 1920 performances or her hand signed, heavily marked copy of the 1901 Hamelle score--which, of course, explains why she preferred it to the 'lost' 1893 chamber version. It's also uncertain that Boulanger knew about the existence of Faure's 1893 instrumental parts at La Madeleine, since the parts remained there until 1968 when Nectoux rediscovered them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17SFoAsX-UU
    https://www.discogs.com/Nadia-Boulan...lease/10013381
    https://www.amazon.com/Faur%C3%A9-Yo...oulanger+faure

    Finally, there are two other excellent recordings of the Requiem that are great favorites of mine: the first is a 1994 Conifer label recording by the late conductor Richard Marlow & The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, of the 1893 chamber version, which features soprano Camilla Otaki, who, as mentioned, is almost indistinguishable from a boy treble (to my ears): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyGIXWEa78s, and secondly, the 'classic' 1967 EMI "Seraphim" recording by Sir David Willcocks & the King's College Choir (with the New Philharmonia orchestra); a performance which, though it follows the 1901 Hamelle score, has a more chamber-like intimacy than other 1901 recordings that I've heard (such as Andre Cluyten's famous 1962 EMI recording with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, for instance, & Jean Fournet and Charles Dutoit's recordings, too). One of the chief attributes of Willcock's performance is the boy treble Robert Chilcott's unforgettable singing of the Pie Jesu, which is not to be missed (see my You Tube link below). (I don't expect there's an equal to Chilcott's singing on record.) The recording also features the English baritone, John Carol Case, who sings the baritone part exceptionally well, and seems to thoroughly understand Faure's request that it be performed in a more "cantor-like" manner. In addition, Willock's choir is comprised of men & boys, much in the same tradition as La Madeleine, where Faure conducted about thirty boys (altos, & trebles) and four or five men (basses, & tenors) at the work's premiere in 1893.

    https://www.amazon.com/Durufl%C3%A9-...d+marlow+faure

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYC2uyxSC60
    https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...uiem-op-48-etc

    * from Wikipedia--the quote derives from "Music & Letters", Vol. 71, No. 1 (February 1990), pp. 143–144.

    To be concluded in my next post...
    Last edited by Josquin13; Dec-04-2018 at 21:30.

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    To continue,

    Finally, I want to make one more important point, in regards to the 1893 church version: it seems that the 1893 score is often written about as if Faure had intended it to be a more intimate, chamber work (& indeed, it is more of chamber version than the later 1901 orchestral score). However, La Madeleine in Paris is a gigantic church, with an impressive 'Parthenon-like' Greek revival exterior and front entrance, and an interior that appears to resemble more that of a Gothic cathedral than a medium-sized church. So, unless Faure’s 1983 score was initially intended and composed for a side chapel at La Madeleine, he didn’t originally intend his Requiem to be a small scaled, intimate chamber work, but rather a work that was sufficiently powered to fill a large, expansive church interior, such as that at La Madeleine. Here are some photos of the church:

    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en...iowD3oECAUQBg#

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...7&ff=323702786

    In conclusion, if pressed to pick my five favorite recordings of Faure's Requiem for my desert island, I'd choose (1) Rutter's 1984 recording, & (2) either Gardiner or Marlow's 1994 recordings of the revised 1994 Nectoux/Delage edition (as I'd have to re-listen to them, in order to decide which I prefer, as I like both), (3) Herreweghe's 2007 recording of the 2001 Nectoux/Zimmerman edition, (4) Willcock's 1967 King's College Choir performance, and (5) Boulanger's EMI References recording (as I haven't heard her 1967 BBC recording)--each for the different reasons that I've outlined above.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Dec-04-2018 at 21:34.

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