Artist: Tenebrae, London Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, Nigel Short
Title: Faure: Requiem; Bach: Partita, Chorales & Ciaccona
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 2012
Duration: 01:08:03
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: Hyperion Records

LSO Live is delighted to renew its relationship with the magnificent Tenebrae choir, whose previous recordings on the label have included Berlioz ‘L enfance du Christ’ and Handel s ‘Messiah’. As part of the 2011 City of London Festival, Tenebrae joined an ensemble from the LSO at St Paul s Cathedral for a performance of the Faur Requiem, preceded by a selection of Bach s Chorales interspersed with Partitas performed by Gordan Nikolitch, leader of the LSO. The centrepiece of the programme was Helga Thoene s remarkable arrangement of Bach s choral themes with solo violin. The performance was restaged in May 2012 in the sublime acoustic of the Church of St Giles Cripplegate and recorded by LSO Live. The Faur Requiem in D minor exists in three different versions, the John Rutter edition for chamber orchestra being performed here. Following an Autumn tour of the USA, Tenebrae will perform a selection of Christmas concerts in December, followed by another tour of the USA in Spring 2013. Tenebrae sopranos will also feature in performances of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at the Royal Opera House.

Even though Gabriel Faur’s Requiem in D minor receives top billing on this 2012 release from LSO Live, listeners may be excused if they find the performance of J.S. Bach’s Partita in D minor with Chorales to be the most interesting part of the disc. Scholarship has revealed the Partita and its famous Ciaconna (Chaconne) to be connected to various funereal chorale melodies, which Bach wove into his music as a private tribute to his late first wife, Maria Barbara. To help illustrate this, Nigel Short and Tenebrae perform the chorales “Ach Herr, la dein lieb Engelein,” “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” “Den Tod niemand swingen kunnt,” and “Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden,” between movements of the Partita and underscoring the Ciaconna where Gordan Nikolic’s carefully phrased violin melody makes reference to the chorales. For musical sleuths, this is quite an exercise in detection, though the emotional impact of hearing the violin soaring and weaving through the choir’s dirges is not to be underrated. The Bach certainly prepares the listener for the 1893 chamber version of Faur’s somber but soothing Requiem, in which the London Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble accompanies Tenebrae with strength and beauty. While the performances are admirable for their undeniable power to move, the super audio sound of these live recordings is uneven and disconcerting, falling short of the label’s usual high standards by being either too thin, as in the Bach, or too booming, as in the Faur.


  1. St John Passion, BWV245, Pt. 2 No. 40: Chorale: Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein – 2:09
  2. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Movement 1: Allemanda – 3:29
  3. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Movement 2: Corrente – 2:10
  4. Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV4: Movement 2: Christ lag in Todesbanden – 1:19
  5. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Movement 3: Sarabanda – 3:29
  6. Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV4: Movement 3: Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt – 1:22
  7. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Movement 4: Giga – 3:02
  8. St Matthew Passion, BWV244, No. 62: Chorale: Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden – 1:23
  9. Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: Movement 5: Ciaccona – 13:08
  10. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 1: Introit and Kyrie – 6:35
  11. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 2: Offertoire – 8:15
  12. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 3: Sanctus – 3:33
  13. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 4: Pie Jesu – 3:32
  14. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 5: Agnus Dei – 6:17
  15. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 6: Libera me – 4:53
  16. Requiem, Op 48: Movement 7: In paradisum – 3:35