ALBUM TITLE: Fauré
PERFORMER: Chen Reiss (soprano), Matthias Goerne (baritone), Eric Picard (cello); Orchestre de Paris & Orchestre de Paris Chorus/Paavo Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: EuroArts 2058878 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 picture format)
The performers and repertoire of this disc are in every respect but one identical with those of the Virgin CD I reviewed in November 2011, Philippe Jaroussky being replaced by the soprano Chen Reiss. Whether, for some, a countertenor in the ‘Pie Jesu’ was a step too far, I don’t know, but Reiss sings the movement with a clear tone, obvious feeling, and with audible words. This (as on the CD) is not the case with the chorus, and although English subtitles are a help, something is definitely lost in Super flumina and in the Cantique de Jean Racine, where the texts are not generally familiar.
Mostly my criticisms of the CD are relevant here: rather bass-heavy sound, a weak soprano line and Goerne’s fast vibrato. One improvement is the balance between chorus and orchestra, with the latter no longer so prominent. But in the ‘In paradisum’ the sopranos’ opening phrases are flat – tiredness, perhaps. Two corrections: despite what the note tells us, we don’t know for sure that Fauré himself orchestrated the full version, though presumably he accepted it. And the ‘Pie Jesu’ was not, as Järvi says in the bonus interview, written for a woman’s voice, but for a boy’s. Järvi follows the standard line of regarding the Requiem as inhabiting a space somewhere between hopeful and superficial, but at least he feels that at the end ‘you have arrived in a better place.’