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In the 1960s, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, under David Willcocks made a celebrated recording of the Fauré Requiem, which became something of a benchmark. Stephen Cleobury’s new recording deserves to do the same. Using the period brass and strings of the OAE, Cleobury opts for Marc Rigaudière’s edition, which aims to recreate the 1889 premiere of Fauré’s most popular piece. It is not without its own surprises: for example, the baritone’s ‘Hostias’ is heard without the choral bookends of the later Offertoire. (For good measure, the later expanded version of the movement is also included as a separate track.) It’s an engaging and admirable performance, the muted colours of the period instruments adding much atmosphere. Choral textures are clean and exquisitely balanced, as one would expect from this source, and Gerald Finley is an exemplary soloist. Special mention should be made of Tom Pickard’s singing of the Pie Jesu. With the ever-popular Cantique de Jean Racine and the Messe basse, what’s not to like about this release? Highly recommended.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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