Gabriel Faure’s unconventional composition Requiem has become a firm favourite in the repertoire and available here is the vocal score, for Soloists and SATB Choir with Piano Accompaniment, as edited by Desmond Ratcliffe.
Requiem is probably the most famous of Gabriel Faure's long works, taking him around 20 years to compose. The entire piece consists of seven movements with a total playing time of around 35 minutes. Although Faure's mother and father both passed away in the early stages of composition, these tragic events were not the motivation for him to create the piece.Equally interestingly, this Requiem is not set to the standard liturgical text, with the wrathful 'Dies Irae' and 'Tuba Mirum' being omitted, and a lyrical 'Pie Jesu' and transcendent 'Paradisum' being added. The omissions were ordinarily opportunities for composers to showcase the dramatic possibilities of a chorus and orchestra to symbolise damnation, and so their deliberate exclusion by Faure creates a relatively calm and peaceful atmosphere, with sublime vocal harmonies and heavenly melodies.
The work begins softly before dynamic volume and tempo changes are made throughout the piece, enhancing the solemn beauty of the voices. Stunning interplay between the Sopranos and Baritones gives way to some excellent opportunities for soloists that are perfectly married with the uplifting unison climaxes. Faure himself spoke eloquently about the Requiem, stating that his work was accurately called a 'lullaby of death', and that this speaks to his view that death is a positive transition, rather than a painful experience. It is this sentiment that informs the music, being melancholy but not depressing, heart-wrenching but not heart-breaking.
For singers and listeners alike, Gabriel Faure's Requiem is one of the most famous