Requiem    Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Urbain Fauré (1845-1924) was a French composer, organist and teacher. In 1896, he became chief organist at the Eglise de la Madeleine and composition instructor at the Conservatoire de Paris, where his pupils included Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger. In 1905, he became the director of the Conservatoire and continued as critic for Le Figaro until 1921.

The Requiem in D minor, Op 48 was written between 1886 and 1888, and first performed at the Eglise de la Madeleine in early 1888 at burial services and in May as a concert. Personal grief may have influenced the composition as it was started after the death of his father, and before it was completed, his mother passed away as well.

The work is remarkably innovative. In writing his Requiem, Fauré adjusted the traditional liturgical order, omitting the Sequence (which features the "Dies Irae" and "Rex tremendae") and adding "In Paradisum." Gone, then, is the apocalyptic horror of God's wrath, and instead there is a serene and ultimately comforting vision of heaven.

Fauré himself commented:
"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. 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."