Fauré's Requiem - An Expression of Joy
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was one of the foremost French composers of his generation. Among his contemporaries were such major names as Bizet, Franck, Massenet, Debussy, Messaien and Poulenc. Fauré's music has been described as linking the end of Romanticism with the modernism of the second quarter of the 20th century. His musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, Sicilienne, nocturnes for piano and the songs "Après un rêve", “Cantique de Jean Racine” and "Clair de lune" (Not to be confused with Debussy’s famous piece of the same name). Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his most highly regarded works, for example, his suite of incidental music for Pelleas et Melisande, in his later years.
According to the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Fauré is widely regarded as the greatest master of French song. And his stature as a composer is undiminished by the passage of time.
Oriana is genuinely delighted to be able to revisit Faure’s wonderful Requiem, which forms part of the programme for the concert series in July. It is one of the loveliest of Requiem compositions. Although it is, by definition, a Mass for the Dead, it is not characterised by an exaggerated sense of gravity, solemnity, or fear of death. Faure said, of his much-loved work, "My Requiem wasn't written for anything – for pleasure, if I may call it that! It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death, and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”
The earliest composed music included in the Requiem is the Libera me, which Fauré wrote in 1877 as an independent work. It was incorporated into the version which was premiered in 1893. This version also included the Introit and Kyrie, Offertoire, Sanctus, Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei. The final movement, In Paradisum, is based on a text that is not part of the liturgy of the funeral Mass but of the burial.
Faure’s Requiem is a lovely work. The music has a tenderness which infuses the work with joy rather than sadness. And the final movement has an ethereal beauty which brings the whole work to a peace-filled, and utterly satisfying conclusion. It is a delight to sing, from beginning to end, and it is sure to be an uplifting, satisfying experience for Oriana’s audiences, whether it be the first time listener, or one revisiting a familiar and much loved musical friend.
10th July, 2pm St Patrick’s Church, Gympie
16th July, 2pm St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane
17th July, 2pm Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, Maroochydore
Secure your seats by visiting oriana.org.au