This CD is an excellent introdcution to the sacred music of Duruflé, consisting of a large scale Requiem and also some smaller works. The music is certainly beautiful, with freely cascading parts and a remarkably prayerful ambience. While the recording is good, I would warn the discerning of the hazy acoustic of the church and the apparent distance of the performers that this creates. The recording does not have great clarity, although in some ways this adds to the atmosphere of the music. A good CD, I would certainly recommend it.
Another great success from the Naxos label. So many times we see Maurice Durufle's haunting masterpiece alongside Faure's on the same disc, and yet the works do not complement each other (Durufle's being the more modern, perhaps mature work). The only similarity between the works (apart from the fact they are written by French composers) is that they are both optimistic about the final judgement, life after death etc., although the Dies Irae does make a very brief appearance in the Durufle (and perhaps in the Faure too somewhere???) At last we can hear it in its proper context - it is accompanied by the famous four motets based on gregorian themes, the beautiful Notre Pere, and other works, including the amazing Scherzo and the stunning Prelude and Fugue on "Alain" for organ. The former in particular is given a very fine performance here.
The performance, although suffering from slight tuning problems in the chorus and brass sections, is an excellant one. Both chorus and orchestra are superb, as is the organist.
Durufle's Requiem, like the four motets, is based on gregorian themes, from the opening Introit, the blistering Sanctus, and the tear-jerking Pie Jesu, sung beautifuly and dramatically on this disc by the soprano soloist. The bass soloist's appearances (especially in the Hostias) are also a delight to hear, being carried out with much reverence and reservation which is ideal for this stunning French work.
Maurice Durufle's opus 9 is by no means a small work or for the weak-hearted; somehow the composer has combined ruthless passion, reserved humility, and sobbing agony into one glorious work. One sometimes feels musicians do not listen enough - and this would be an excellant place to start.