This all Faure concert disc by the Paris Orchestra and Chorus, nimbly conducted by Paavo Jarvi, is not perfect. For one, the audio though very clear is not the surround mix you might have expected given the DTS 5.1 labeling ....hardly any ambient signals from the rear speakers. Secondly, though for the most part the video quality is very good, it is not the pop up razor sharp image you'd expect from the best blu ray discs....some long shots of the choir at the back of the stage seem underexposed and soft and a curious shimmer sometimes mar the image causing for instance blacks to appear grayish and margins to lose their sharpness. But when the music starts all these seem trivial .
The 'Pavane' for orchestra and chorus is tender with its familiar haunting flute obligato, Jarvi highlighting the delicate interplay between the orchestra and the voices, and showing the flowing melodic lines that is simply Gabriel Faure. Picard next plays the Elegie for cello and orchestra and enraptures one with the expressiveness of its sweet nostalgic themes. Of the next two choral pieces, I liked the youthful and enchanting Cantique de Jean Racine more than the Babylonis psalm. Then comes the main event which is of course the Requiem and what a sublime work this is. Not showy, not massive like other Requiems, but graceful, bitter sweet, introspective and spiritual. The ever popular Pie Jesu is sung in all its crystalline splendor by Chen Reiss , a soprano voice of controlled strength and purity. Again Jarvi brings out the delicate melodic lines interspersed with passages of great intensity and succeeds in imposing on the listener an almost unbearable feeling of yearning and sadness. If beautiful music can make you cry,this one will.