"Faure(1845-1924)attended the Ecole Niedermeyer,where he was strongly influenced by Saint-Saens.When he left the Ecole he served for four years as an organist at a church in Rennes. In 1870 he deserted music to fight in the infantry in the Franco- Prussian war.After the war he had various posts as an organist,until he joined his old school as a teacher.He married in 1883. The Requiem was introduced at the Madeleine Church where he became first organist and professor of composition at the Conservatory in 1893. In 1905 he became its director.Because of increasing deafness which he tried to conceal from his friends, he gave up his post at the Conservatory in 1905.He still wrote significant music and died in Paris November 1924".(Ewen 1978:835)His pupils included Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)George Enescu(1881-1955)and Nadia Boulanger(1887-1979)He became the Conservatory director in 1905 in the aftermath of a scandal that had denied the Prix de Rome to Ravel.He was the bridge from the 19th to the 20th century,although his most popular works are from the 19th century.
Aaron Copland described Faure's most Characteristic works as" delicate,reserved and aristocratic." (Ewen 1978: 835). This sums up the Pavane for orchestra - Chorus added later,completed in 1887. Faure's resurrection of the Baroque form of the Pavane-the slow and stately dance in 4/4 time and usually in three sections-has a classic serenity.
The Elegy op 24 was written 1n 1880.His melodies are gentle which the Cello plays over and reaches a climax then softly ebbs away.
The psalm setting Super Flumina Babylonis was written in 1863 for his Ecole and is a youthful work where it shows he is gaining his own identity in music. However,Cantique de Jean Racine op 11 written in 1865, is a remarkable mature piece as it points towards the Requiem and Faure's delicate style.He has found his own voice as it were.I wonder why it is not played more often.
Where other Romantics were ready to shout and declaim,Faure was willing to whisper the most tender confidences and uncover the most sensitive moods,which refers to the Requiem, an example of Faures art.This work was dedicated to his late mother.Premiere 1888. Intimate in tone,comparatively slight of structure it speaks of the serenity death brings.Nadia Boulanger his pupil once said" no exterior effect alters its sober and rather severe expression of grief,its spotless faith,its gentle confidence,its tender and tranquil expectancy" (Ewen 1978:839).Although I know this work,I did think Faure's Requiem sounded like a 19th century version of Hildegard von Bingen's work(1098-1179.She was leader of her own community at Rupertsberg on the Rhine at Bingen. She was writing music from 1151-1158 to be sung by the sisters at the convent.Quite a facinating woman who could move in the real political world of the time.Sequentia -Canticles of Ecstasy CD.Their music have that same inner quietness, which reminds us of butterflies wings, with sunlight dancing upon its shadows. This forgotten place we call beauty.
Jarvi states in the interview, that "Faure was not particularly religious,(the Franco-Prussian War probably changed him).Although the Requiem shows we will arrive at a better place, Faure does not quite believe it".Which if you did not know this,you would take him as an uber religious Catholic.Berlioz and Beethoven who wrote Requiems were not religious.
Paavo Jarvi conducts the Faure's pieces and the Requiem as if he had got inside the music and became the notes on the page,as he identifies with Faure's gentle art. The Choir of the Orchestra of Paris are marvellous. Words do not do justice to their singing in the Requiem as well as the other pieces. Matthias Goerne, baritone in the Offertoire and Libera me, has captured that melodic meditative quality that is required,as has Chen Reiss in Pie Jesu. Eric Picard on Cello plays with feeling in the Salle Pleyel,February 10th,2011,before a live audience. I can throughly recommend these beautiful works of music recorded on bluray.
TV Format 1080i full HD. 16.9. Sound Pcm Stereo. Dts-HD Master audio, REGION CODE-WORLDWIDE.Interview with Jarvi.