Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine

Verbe égal au Très-Haut

Gabriel Faure 1864
Gabriel Fauré, 1864
I love the Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré, Op. 11. In French, of course. The problem singing it that it’s so beautiful that I have to fight back breaking into tears.

“The text, ‘Verbe égal au Très-Haut’ (‘Word, one with the Highest’), is a French paraphrase by Jean Racine of a Latin hymn… The nineteen-year-old composer set the text in 1864–65 for a composition competition at the École Niedermeyer de Paris, and it won him the first prize.

“The work was first performed the following year on 4 August 1866 in a version with an accompaniment of strings and organ.”

In my church, the members may ask the choir if it would sing at a funeral. This was the case in mid-September. The member’s father had died, in his 90s. Although the now-deceased had an ambivalence about religion and God, he specifically requested that his service be held in his son’s church.

The music staff had offered five suggestions of appropriate pieces in the choral repertoire. Jean Racine was one. Another one, which was also selected, was the final movement, In Paradisum, from Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, composed between 1887 and 1890. Jean Racine is similar in style to the Requiem, and “the two works are often performed together.” I’ve sung the entire Fauré Requiem at least twice.


I wonder if one of the other pieces recommended, but not chosen, for the service came from a piece from Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms. The Fauré Requiem resembles it in structure, “although Fauré set Latin liturgical texts to music, whereas Brahms chose German Bible quotations.”

The fourth Brahms movement, How lovely is thy dwelling place, in English, is a funeral standard. One of my friends from my former church I know has specifically requested it for his service. If invited, I would surely sing it, hopefully, years from now.


Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine
Fauré: In Paradisum from the Requiem
Brahms: How lovely is thy dwelling place from the German Requiem

Lenten Music Friday: Fauré Requiem

Fauré’s Requiem is noted for its calm, serene and peaceful outlook.

Faure1907Of all the Requiems, and I have participated in the singing of quite a few, one of my two favorites, along with Mozart, is the Fauré. I know I sang this in both 2000 and 2002, and perhaps later.

He composed the Requiem between 1887 and 1890. From Classic FM:

Traditionally, at its heart, [a requiem] is a prayerful lament for the dead. Fauré’s Requiem was altogether different, though Continue reading “Lenten Music Friday: Fauré Requiem”

Requiem of the week: Fauré

Camille Saint-Saëns said of it, “Just as Mozart’s is the only Ave verum Corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu.”

This late 19th century piece, by composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), is probably my second favorite requiem. My current choir has performed it at least twice, in 2005 and 2009. It runs about 35 minutes, and consists of seven movements; the linked audios are from sundry sources.

I. Introït et Kyrie (D minor)
II. Offertoire (B minor)
III. Sanctus (E flat major) Continue reading “Requiem of the week: Fauré”