Thursday, December 21, 2006

What I am listening

It is surprising to see that the tempo marking in Faure’s Requiem is so fast that the written requirement is ignored by most of the performances nowadays. Giulini, being at the slower side for most repertoires, makes the music in the status of between flowing and hovering. The gradation in dynamics is so subtle that some sections such as “In paradisum”, diaphanous and dainty, have a magic mesmerizing effect, echoing its fame as lullaby of death by Faure’s contemporaries. Yet I was not sleeping, far from it. Unlike Victoria de Los Angeles, Kathleen Battle’s “Pie Jesu” is voluptuous, full of human tender. Schmidt, on the contrary, is broader and farther as if his piety has traversed the long journey from heaven to the earth.

There is no climax or raucous pieces like those in either Verdi or Mozart, that’s what Faure wants: a happy death delivery. And that’s what Giulini does: a 35 minutes hush filled with reverence.

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