L Boulanger • Fauré

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Faure,L Boulanger
ALBUM TITLE: L Boulanger • Fauré
WORKS: Psalms 24 & 130 (Du fond de l’abîme); Pie Jesu
PERFORMER: Janet Price (soprano), Bernadette Greevy (contralto), Ian Partridge (tenor), John Carol Case (baritone); BBC SO & Chorus/Nadia Boulanger

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Recordings of neglected works are like buses. You wait for ages, then three or four turn up at once. To make matters even more frustrating, each conductor offers something special. Two marvellous discs centred on choral works by Lili Boulanger have already arrived in the past year, conducted by Mark Stringer (Timpani) and Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos) respectively, and John Eliot Gardiner can be seen on the horizon with his coupling of the psalm settings and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms on DG. This release from BBC Legends might seem out of place as it chugs away alongside those gleaming new offerings. The recording may have been serviced, but it cannot hide occasional problems with tuning in the chorus, the lack of certain comforts in the booklet, such as texts of the works, or that the Fauré is not in the streamlined version heard most commonly today. However, such quibbles quickly become irrelevant when faced with performances of such love, passion and integrity. Nadia Boulanger was the elder sister of Lili Boulanger and had studied with Fauré. Her intimate knowledge of the highways and byways of these works is matched, even in her eighties, by her fervent advocacy. Strongly recommended.

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Christopher Dingle