Musical Interlude – Gabriel Fauré – A Happy Deliverance

“Everything I managed to entertain in the 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.” ~ Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, between 1887 and 1890. The choral-orchestral setting of the shortened Catholic Mass for the Dead in Latin is the best-known of his large works. Its focus is on eternal rest and consolation.

Fauré told an interviewer:

“It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience. The music of Gounod has been criticized for its overinclination towards human tenderness. But his nature predisposed him to feel this way: religious emotion took this form inside him. Is it not necessary to accept the artist’s nature? As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.” – via

Fauré’s Requiem is indeed different.

Many, many years ago, I played the church organ from time to time and assisted the choir director at a beautiful Catholic church in Colorado. The first time I heard the Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem, sung by a soprano whose voice was that of an angel or other celestial spirit, I thought I have been given temporary passage to heaven.  I probably exaggerate a bit and it was more than likely one of those “you had to be there” moments… but to this day, I’m still not sure where I had been delivered but it had been somewhere not of this earth.

Three minutes and 35 seconds of mystical deliverance – hope you enjoy!

Rosa Elvira Sierra – Pie Jesu- Requiem-Fauré

Photo credit:  Paul Nadar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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