Like his previous Virgin Classics release, a program dedicated to Georges Bizet, Paavo Järvi devotes his new CD entirely to music by one French composer – Gabriel Fauré. Fauré’s serene and consoling Requiem is the centerpiece of the album, which also features three other classic Fauré pieces and one lesser known, but nonetheless beautiful, work.
The Requiem features two vocal soloists, usually a soprano and a baritone. Here, however, a countertenor – exclusive Virgin Classics artist and one of the best-selling classical artist in Europe Philippe Jaroussky – brings his ethereal timbre and sensitive phrasing to the poised Pie Jesu. His baritone colleague is the warm-toned German Matthias Goerne, acknowledged as one of today’s finest vocal recitalists. The Chœur de l’Orchestre de Paris also performs in three other works on the CD including the exquisite Pavane, with its flowing melody and mock-Rococo verses, and two early works to religious texts, the touching Cantique de Jean Racine and the world premiere recording of Super Flumina Babylonis (By the Rivers of Babylon). Completing the program is the reflective, but impassioned Elégie for cello and orchestra, performed by the Orchestre de Paris’ Principal Cellist, Eric Picard.