About Fauré Requiem
Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, between 1887 and 1890. The choral-orchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works.
Fauré's reasons for composing his Requiem are uncertain. One possible impetus may have been the death of his father in 1885, and his mother's death two years later on New Year's Eve 1887. However, by the time of his mother's death he had already begun the work, about which he later declared, "My Requiem wasn't written for anything – for pleasure, if I may call it that!" The earliest composed music included in the Requiem is the "Libera Me", which Fauré wrote in 1877 as an independent work.
In 1887–88, Fauré composed the first version of the work, which he called "un petit Requiem" with five movements (Introit and Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei and In Paradisum), but did not include the "Libera Me". This version was first performed on 16 January 1888, under the composer’s direction in La Madeleine, Paris. The treble soloist was Louis Aubert, and the occasion was the funeral of Joseph Lesoufaché, an architect.
In 1889, Fauré added the "Hostias" portion of the Offertory and in 1890 he expanded the Offertory and added the 1877 "Libera Me". This second version was premièred on 21 January 1893, again at the Madeleine with Fauré conducting. In 1899–1900, the score was reworked for full orchestra. This final version was premièred at the Trocadéro in Paris on 12 July 1900, during the Exposition Universelle. Paul Taffanel conducted forces of 250 performers.
In 1924 the Requiem, in its full orchestral version, was performed at Fauré's own funeral. It was not performed in the United States until 1931, at a student concert at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. It was first performed in England in 1936.
Fauré himself said of the work, "Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest."
This recording of Fauré Requiem is based on the Oxford University Press edition of the 1893 version.