There is no shortage of recordings of Fauré's Requiem. It was therefore necessary to take a new look at this highly esteemed work for another recording project. And this is exactly what the choral ensemble Aedes, together with musicians of Les Siècles, under the overall direction of Mathieux Romano, has achieved. The choice of the musicians of Les Siècles, the historically informed orchestra of the conductor Xavier Roth, which recently made a name for itself with Berlioz under its founder, is already a decisive step for the interpretation of this work. Not only do Les Siècles perform in a historically informed manner, but so do many other ensembles today, no, they also have an ever-growing treasure trove of historical instruments that allows them to perform in their original formations. Numerous recordings bear witness to the unheard-of timbres that this orchestra is able to elicit, especially from compositions of the nineteenth century, and thus often redefines the view of the well-known.
The new recording of the Fauré Requiem, however, also has something extraordinary to offer: the Ensemble Aedes. With up to 40 singers, the ensemble, founded by Mathieu Romano in 2005, performs choral works from the last five centuries, including contemporary works of mainly French origin. In the case of the Fauré Requiem, Mathieu Romano has chosen the more organ-dominated original version of 1893 for the current recording, which is based on a Latin text pronounced in French, as was customary in France at the time, giving the vocal part of the work a particularly bright and luminous timbre that uniquely blends with the timbre produced by the Les Siècles instrumentalists to form a convincing unity. Compared to its later versions, the Requiem thus acquires a finely floating lightness, which is in keeping with Fauré's intention to create in the form of his Requiem not so much a profound church work on the theme of death as a personal meditation on transitoriness, free of all the gravity of the theme.
This extraordinarily successful recording of Fauré's Requiem is complemented by pure choral works performed at the same high level: Poulenc's Figure Humaine and Debussy's Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orléans. The secular cantata by Francis Poulenc is based on texts by Paul Éluard about the suffering of his fellow countrymen during the Second World War and is considered one of the main works of this French composer. The three chansons by Claude Debussy will be heard in a version not yet performed and they were chosen by Mathieu Romano as the finale to this album to console the listener with an optimistic view of the beautiful sides of life after the compositions by Fauré and Poulenc dealing with death and suffering.
Sébastien Richaud, violin
Mathieu Dubroca, baritone
Roxane Chalard, soprano
Les Siècles, Ensemble Aedes
Mathieu Romano, conductor