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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2012
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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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2013
I was intrigued by this, but it works beautifully. The movements of Bach's D minor solo violin Partita interspersed with Bach Chorale settings. Then the great Chaconne with closes the Partita gently overlaid with the sung chorales which are apparently hidden within it. Beautifully done, too, the violin is never obscured. Then the final held open/stopped d' which concludes the partita segues into the octave d's which open the Fauré Requiem. Which in turn is a beautiful and moving performance. Cumulatively the effect is powerful and highly moving. Highly recommended!
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on 11 February 2016
This is an extraordinary performance of the Fauré Requiem (1893 version). Take it as read that, as others have said, soloists, choir and ensemble are fabulous. But what is truly exceptional about this performance is the atmosphere cast over the whole. Using tempi sometimes a little slower than usual, there is a combination of intensity with deep meditative calm. Lyricism and drama are present as appropriate, yet it is as if we have stepped aside from regular life for a while and keep a deeply focused vigil. I’m finding it hard to find words to describe the performance - so maybe you must buy the disc to find out for yourself! But this is Fauré at a level of calm intensity (yes, I repeat myself) we are not used to hearing, no matter that there are so many beautiful performances out there.

(I haven’t listened to the Bach part of the disc - couldn't at the moment - so will leave that for others to review.)
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on 10 August 2016
Picked up on this on Radio Three's Review. Not too sentimental and very well recorded. I like the accompanying pice that comes before it and tend to agree with Radio 3 in its selection of this a the best currently available. I have I think 4 others (too many) so I will probably keep this one and ditch two of the others (for storage reasons).
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I really love the Faure. The performance is one of the very best, the soloists are excellent, and for once the sacd layer is fantastic on my sound sytem. Nikolitch's Bach partita 2 in D minor sounds very spontaneous and realistic sounding. I'm really impressed by the new musical enlightenment I obtained from the interspersed chorales.
My only disappointment is the overlaying of the choral music above the great Chaconne, which kinda works but really doesn't enhance, rather the opposite. I wish it had been provided as an 'alternative' extra track, like having alternative cadenzas. The unaccompanied great Chaconne, which is a complete and perfect sculpture without the need for extra sonic shading, would IMO be the better way.
I was very taken by Nikolitch's playing, sounding sweet and natural, like a live performance, and not so self-important as some versions of the Bach solo violin S&Ps, and very acceptable sound texture indeed before the opening of the Requiem.
Very well done indeed.
Thank you.
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on 27 March 2013
I had an old copy of the Faure Requiem on C.D. and thought there might be a better one now. Looking through the reviews this seemed to come tops, even though it's a live recording which I normally wouldn't buy. I'm glad I did, it's beautiful, and a lovely recording.
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on 30 June 2013
THe Requiem is a favourite work which I have sung several times over the years. My previous recording was on an LP purchased 'way back' and seeing the various CD's on offer I asked a musically-qualified friend for an opinion on which to get. Tenebre, I was told, are always good, and so they are. I had not appreciated that they are a smallish ensemble and whilst their performance is excellent I prefer, on balance, a larger choir; purely a personal choice, just as some like 'Messiah' performed by a chamber choir and limited instruments, and others prefer Huddersfield Choral Society with a full orchestra. Good value for money though.
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on 24 January 2013
If you only buy one recording of Fauré Requiem, make sure it's this one - you won't hear a finer version. If you already have other recordings, you obviously love this piece so you'll will appreciate the vocal and instrumental control in this performance that allows the music to speak for itself.
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on 25 February 2013
This live recording is magnificent. If ever there was a CD that made you feel that you were 'In The Room' then this is it. Gorgeous and essential Sunday morning listening.
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on 30 May 2014
Having sung alto in this requiem, I love a church setting for this very moving piece, and feel a strong affinity with it.

This recording doesn't disappoint. It's pure, perfectly restrained and beautifully executed. I'm particularly keen on female voices for soprano and alto parts rather than boy choristers, which is why I specifically chose this recording rather than the well-known Willcocks' Cambridge version.

I will definitely be looking out for more recordings by Tenebrae - their sound is absolutely lovely.
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