Bernard Kruysen (baritone)
Netherlands Radio Chorus
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Jean
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/David Zinman
Rec March 1975, Rotterdam (Requiem & Pavane); November
1979, Rotterdam (Pelléas)
PHILIPS 464 701 2
This nicely presented disc offers a thoughtfully planned Fauré programme,
and brings the beautiful Pelléas et Mélisande music
before a wider public, alongside the more popular Requiem and
Pavane. In fact the performance (and recording too) of
Pelléas is more successful than those of the other items. David
Zinman chooses appropriate tempi to allow the essential sensitivity of the
elusive subject of forbidden love to be felt through some of Fauré's
most beautiful music. And full marks to the Rotterdam orchestra, who play
quite wonderfully in music which does not exactly encourage us to acknowledge
their virtuosity. Jill Gomez is on top form, too, in Mélisande's song.
The Pavane is suitably phrased and balanced by Fournet, and the recording
is more than adequate. However, in the Requiem some doubts set in.
The solo voices, for example, are placed very far forward in the perspective,
while the orchestral lines, though not completely lost, do not always make
their point. The best aspect of the performance is the contribution of the
chorus, always clear in focus and sensitive in phrasing.
There is a perceptive accompanying essay by Max Harrison, detailing some
aspects of the interesting history surrounding the Requiem. Hidden
away in the text of this is the fact that the version employed here is the
'larger orchestra' version of 1901. This is the most common version among
today's performances, though it is by no means the only one to be featured
in the catalogue of recordings.