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Classical - Released September 5, 2011 | Warner Classics

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Paavo Järvi's recording of the Fauré Requiem is notable for its balance of a sumptuous orchestral and choral sound with a chaste and dignified interpretation of the score. The strings of Orchestre de Paris in particular sound gorgeous, and Choeur de l'Orchestre de Paris sings with marvelous dynamic variety; in the opening movement, the chorus seems to emerge gradually out of near-silence, yet the group can produce a terrifyingly large sound in the Libera me. Counter tenor Philippe Jaroussky and baritone Matthias Goerne are outstanding in the solo movements, investing the meditative music with deep feeling. The Pie Jesu is sometimes sung by a woman and sometimes by a boy soprano, and Jaroussky's performance has some elements of both: the purity of a boy's voice but with the musical maturity of an adult singer. The album is generously filled out with four other choral or orchestral pieces. The lovely Cantique de Jean Racine and Pavane for orchestra and mixed choir are frequently paired with the Requiem. Elégie for cello and orchestra, premiered by Pablo Casals, and played with elegance here by Eric Picard, fits beautifully with the contemplative tone of the album. Super flumina Babylonis for mixed choir and orchestra is a student work, recorded here for the first time. It's more overtly emotional than the other repertoire on the album, as is appropriate for the text, and may lack the subtlety of the later pieces, but it's an attractive, skillfully crafted work that stands on its own merits and deserves broader exposure. The sound of the live recording is exceptionally warm and resonant, yet still detailed.