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Customer Review

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and beautiful disc, 16 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Faure: Requiem (Audio CD)
I like pretty much everything Tenebrae has recorded (with the exception, perhaps of their rather tedious Paul Mealor disc ( Paul Mealor - Selections From A Tender Light SATB (Satb Chorus)), but this is something really quite special. The disc falls into two stylistically distinct parts, yet there are strong intellectual links between them which make the whole disc more rewarding even than the sum of its excellent parts.

The first part of the CD consists of a programme of Bach chorales and the violin Partita No.2 in d, performed by Gordan Nikolitch. This brings to life academic research conducted by Professor Helga Thoene, who argues that the underlying harmonic structure, as well as melodic devices of the partitas, can be shown to be based on the harmonic structure of Bach's chorale harmonisations, making the music not only a beautiful expression of pure melody, but also a spiritual meditation on the chorales themselves. The Hilliard Ensemble's Morimur was, I believe, the first disc to present her work, but the attraction of this CD is that you don't have the Hilliard's 'distinctive' tone to contend with (unless you like that sort of thing). Here, you have Tenebrae's musical, passionate and beautiful sound, and Nikolitch's excellent violin playing. To my mind, the 13 minute Ciaconna with Chorale Interpolations is worth the price alone.

But that's not all. The Faure may be much better known, but this is an outstanding recording of the work. The orchestral playing is fabulous, the small forces perfectly balanced with the organ, and the choir is in utterly compelling voice. Will Gaunt does a fine job of the Hostias and Libera Me, and Grace Davidson offers a beautiful soprano solo in the Pie Jesu. Granted, there may be recordings which excel in individual areas, but I can't think of one which offers so much in one package. Very highly recommended.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Apr 2014 21:53:47 BDT
What a superb review William. I came on to leave one of my own, having just bought this wonderful CD, but you have covered everything brilliantly. I have several versions of the Faure in particular, and wondered if Tenebrae could match up to a big choral piece, but they really do surpass themselves with the whole of this CD. I adore Tenebrae, and especially this recording. It's just sublime.....
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