- Elegiac song (Elegischer Gesang) ("Sanft wie du lebtest") for 4 voices & string quartet, Op. 118
- Requiem No.1 (à la mémoire de Louis XVI), for chorus & orchestra in C minor
- Funeral March, for orchestra
Much admired in his day -- by Beethoven, among others -- Luigi Cherubini remains a sort of missing link in music history. Among his many works, the opera Medea acquired some fame when Maria Callas championed and recorded it, but much still remains to be rediscovered, especially in the realm of sacred music, to which Cherubini devoted much of his energy. The Requiem Mass in C Minor -- the first of two requiems he composed -- is a striking case in point. Written for an 1816 ceremony commemorating the anniversary of Louis XVI's execution -- his body, along with Marie Antoinette's, had finally received a proper burial -- it is an inspired work that deserves a place among the requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, and others. Considering how important opera was to Cherubini's career, it's no surprise that this music's dramatic touches are highly effective. The reverberating gong stroke that opens the "Dies Irae" is only the most obvious of these; the slow fade-out of the concluding "Agnus Dei," poignantly receding into the distance, is even more dramatically apt. Elsewhere, the tenderness of Cherubini's melodies in the "Kyrie" and "Pie Jesu" foreshadows the comforting style of Fauré's Requiem, and the period-instrument performance by Martin Pearlman's Boston Baroque is equally effective in the music's serene and vehement moods. The latter style fills Cherubini's Funeral March, added to the end of this program, but the tone of serenity is set at the outset by a Beethoven rarity: the Elegiac Song, Op. 118. If Cherubini's music doesn't quite glow with the same effortless perfection as this brief work, the album is nevertheless a worthwhile reminder of his long-forgotten Requiem.