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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Live recording, Munich, Philharmonie im Gasteig (10./11.10.2013)

Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Marina Prudenskaja (mezzo-soprano), Saimir Pirgu (tenor) & Orlin Anastassov (baritone)

Chor & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

Looking back on the Verdi year of 2013, BR-KLASSIK has now supplemented its discography with the live recording of a concert highlight of October 2013, with Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester and Chorus of the Bayerischer Rundfunk. With the “Messa da Requiem”, chief conductor Mariss Jansons is now represented on the BRKLASSIK label with Verdi's choral-symphonic legacy. Together with the international soloists (Krassimira Stoyanova, Marina Prudenskaya, Saimir Pirgu, Orlin Anastassov) and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Chorus of the Bayerischer Rundfunk is also a fundamental element of the Requiem, and its tonal versatility received special praise from the press.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

BR Klassik - 900126

(CD - 2 discs)


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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Live from the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein, 2013

Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Marina Prudenskaja (mezzo-soprano), Saimir Pirgu (tenor) & Orlin Anastassov (bass)

Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Mariss Jansons

Conducting the brilliantly disposed Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Jansons transforms the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein into a heavenly anteroom. From the very first, hushed measures, the orchestra “once again impressively demonstrates its leading rank among the German orchestras” (Die Presse).

The four outstanding soloists fuse together to project a vast range of emotions, from whispered reverence to emotional upheavals. While Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova has been closely associated with the Wiener Staatsoper for several years now, mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya has been steadily building her international career, one major role after another. Albanian-born tenor Saimir Pirgu was chosen by Claudio Abbado at the young age of 22 to sing Ferrando in “Così fan tutte.” Bulgarian bass Orlin Anastassov, meanwhile, has established himself as a superb Verdi singer.

Verdi’s “Messa da Requiem” is in itself a work of superlatives: a towering structure of blazing brass, mighty choral masses and tour-deforce passages for four soloists... a work of deepest and most heartfelt intimacy... a mass for the dead without any mawkish undertones... Quite possibly the foremost achievement in 19th-century liturgical music.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition

Subtitles: GB, DE, FR

Running Time: 91 mins

FSK: 0

“[Jansons's] Requiem is a series of coups d'etat in which the returns of the actual 'Dies irae' or the launch of 'Rex tremendae majestatis' are exciting aural shocks. He also devotes much time to enjoying slow quiet endings of movements for emotional effect...The choir (prepared by Michael Gläser] is superb from its quiet but very clear beginning onwards. It's atmospherically filmed without encompassing a tour of the venue.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik Mariss Jansons Conducts…. - 108136



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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

DSD recording, live at the Barbican January 2009

Sir Colin Davis's series of choral masterworks continues with Verdi's Requiem, a work that Sir Colin has been conducting for much of his long career. It is also his second recording of Verdi's late works for LSO Live, having previously conducted the Grammy Award-winning recording of Falstaff in 2004. He is joined by four superb soloists, three of whom have appeared on Sir Colin's previous LSO Live recordings. Christine Brewer was the superb Leonore on Sir Colin's acclaimed recording of Fidelio; Karen Cargill and John Relyea appeared on Berlioz' L'enfance du Christ and Benvenuto Cellini respectively.Appearing on his first LSO Live recording is the outstanding Verdi tenor Stuart Neill. The Requiem was recorded in January 2009 at concerts dedicated to Richard Hickox who had been President of the London Symphony Chorus and studied with Sir Colin before his own successful career. The 'Agnus Dei' was particularly moving [not to mention in tune, ed] with the female soloists having an obvious rapport. LSO Live has recently released recordings of Haydn's Creation and the St John Passion by James MacMillan conducted by Sir Colin. His award-winning recordings of Sibelius's symphonies will be released in the Autumn as a 5CD box set. Other future releases include Valery Gergiev's recordings of Bluebeard's Castle and Mahler Symphony No 5.


"listen to the fire he generates, the wisdom, the precision and his grasp of the music's narrative … Davis located Verdi's heart right from the first bars. Whether sighing or seething, Joseph Cullen's massed troops were on exemplary form; I've not yet recovered from their full-throated onslaughts in the Dies Irae, delivered with cutting consonants and the heat of hellfire. What of the soloists? Here too we were blessed. Throughout, Davis shaped Verdi's tumult and song with the master's touch" The Times

"The greatest interpretations are often those where you are most conscious of the music and least aware of the conductor's will imposed on it. Such was the case with this remarkable performance … allowing us to experience to the full the nightmarish quality of Verdi's evocation of the Dies Irae, his deep compassion for the suffering, the flippant glory of the Sanctus, and the dreadful uncertainty with which the work closes" The Guardian

"When you are an octogenarian the prospect of another Requiem Mass might be regarded with some degree of circumspection. Unless, of course, you are Sir Colin Davis … Davis is still such a vigorous force for good in music: his clarity of purpose, his keen sense of weighting and rhythm (no one anchors music like he does), and his fervent love of great public utterances, make him the perfect candidate for big choral masterpieces … Quite marvellous" The Independent

“…Sir Colin conducts the Requiem with a judicious mix of fire and meditative calm; tempi never drag nor are they, in the reflective passages, metronome-quick. The work of the LSO Chorus is first-rate, as is that of the LSO itself.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

“Davis, first and foremost, sees the Requiem as being driven by unresolvable inner tensions and ­paradoxes...Davis creates a sense of almost unendurable emotional uncertainty by reminding us that consolation is ­repeatedly proffered, only to be whisked away.” The Guardian, 11th September 2009 ****

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LSO Live - LSO0683

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Leontyne Price (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Veriano Luchetti (tenor), José Van Dam (bass)

Chicago Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Georg Solti

Sony Classical Masters - 88697705692



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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Kristin Lewis (soprano), Violeta Urmana (mezzo-soprano), Piotr Beczala (tenor) & Ildar Abdrazakov (bass)

Choeurs de l'Opéra National de Paris & Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris, Philippe Jordan

In his magnificent Requiem, first heard in Milan in1874, Verdi brought all his dramatic genius to a sacred text. The chorus and orchestra of the Paris Opéra, under their music director Philippe Jordan, marked the composer’s bicentenary in 2013 with two performances of the work. Joining them was an impressive quartet of soloists: soprano Kristin Lewis, mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmana, tenor Piotr Beczala and bass Ildar Abdrazakov.

“The result was a performance on an elevated level,” wrote ForumOpéra. “The audience rose to its feet to acknowledge an interpretation that sought less to wake the dead than to pay them tribute. That was precisely Verdi’s intention when he originally decided to compose a Requiem to honour [the poet] Alessandro Manzoni ... Kristin Lewis’ voice blossoms to the full in the scores of Verdi’s maturity ... Her Aida was stunning, and [here] her sleek luminosity evoked the Nile (and Leontyne Price) ... Violeta Urmana was even throughout her range, with a generous middle register and sure top notes ... Piotr Beczala’s sculpted tone accommodated both nuance and restraint and .... Ildar Abdrazakov’s singing was ... filled with humanity ... his tone noble, cut from royal cloth.”

“at its best there's a heady, generous appeal to Urmana's heavy tone. More memorable is the commitment to text and expression from bass Ildar Abdrazakov, and tenor Piotr Beczala's technically impressive and highly sensitive vocalism: his impeccably stylish Ingemisco and hushed Hostias are the plums of the set.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ***

Erato - 9341402



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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Leontyne Price (soprano), Giulietta Simionato (mezzo), Giuseppe Zampieri (tenor), Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)

Berliner Philharmoniker, Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien, Herbert von Karajan

Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, August 1962.

Verdi’s Messa da Requiem holds an interesting place in the history of music-making in Austro-Germany. It also holds an important place in the life and career of Herbert von Karajan, one of the most distinguished Verdi conductors to have emerged from that culture.

By the time the young Heribert Ritter von Karajan became acquainted with the work in Catholic Salzburg in the early 1920s, the Requiem had become an

accepted part of the musical landscape. It did not, however, feature at the Salzburg Festival until Karajan himself conducted the piece in a much talked about concert in the Festspielhaus in August 1949. Neither the event nor the acclaim it brought Karajan was much approved by Joseph Messner, Salzburg’s influential Director of Cathedral Music. Though Messner had condescended to include Rossini’s Stabat mater and Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces in the ‘Concerts of Sacred Music’ which took place in Salzburg Cathedral every year at festival time, he clearly viewed Karajan’s Festspielhaus performance as a disturbing act of secularisation.

Karajan had first conducted the Requiem as a young assistant Kapellmeister in Ulm in 1933. Working with limited resources, he was said to have made a ‘daringly spectacular assault’ on the music. In 1934, the year Karajan moved to Aachen, Arturo Toscanini conducted a performance at the Vienna State Opera in memory of Austria’s Chancellor Dolfuß who had been murdered by the Nazis: a further indication of the degree to which the Requiem had become embedded within Austro-Germany’s musical culture.

Karajan conducted many landmark performances of the Requiem in his later years. Returning from serious illness, he conducted it at the 1976 Salzburg Easter Festival. Among the soloists was Montserrat Caballé whose breath control amazed even Karajan. And the Requiem was the last work he conducted with the Berlin Philharmonic shortly before his death in 1989.

Karajan loved the power of contemplation afforded by the human voice, hence his preoccupation with the ability of singers to sing quietly. Text also mattered and he worked assiduously on text with artists whom he admired. Equally important for him was the capacity of singers and the solo instrumentalists of his own incomparable Berlin Philharmonic to listen to one another. Such attributes were part and parcel of his ability to realise the spirit of Verdi’s Requiem through what, back in 1935, Dr Kemp had called ‘a peculiar kind of inner absorption’.

Extracts from booklet-notes by Richard Osborne.

“The four soloists are exceptionally full-bodied in tone, and each singer boasts the appropriate vocal weight for the music...The supreme achievement here belongs to Leontyne Price. One cannot properly appreciate the solo singing in this piece until one has heard her.” International Record Review, March 2014

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Testament - SBT1491


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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Elena Filipova, Reinhild Runkel, Peter Dvorsky & Kurt Rydl

Philharmonischer Chor München & Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Sergiu Celibidache

EMI Sergiu Celibidache Edition - 5578482

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Verdi: Requiem, etc.


Requiem in C minor



EMI Gemini - 5862392

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

DVD Video

Region: 0

Sony Karajan Anniversary Edition - 88697296109

(DVD Video)


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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

A Verdi Requiem with a dream line-up of soloists and the forces of La Scala, Milan, directed by one of the greatest maestros of our time

Preceding acclaimed performances at the Lucerne and Salzburg Festivals, Barenboim and his magnificent partners recorded this masterpiece around a live performance at La Scala, Milan, in 2012. This marks the first audio recording by Barenboim in his role as La Scala’s Music Director.

A superb quartet of soloists – Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Elīna Garanča and René Pape – stamp their authority on this terrific performance.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The magnificent full-throated chorus project in a manner liable to rip off the La Scala roof. And the soloists too trail opera glory...Barenboim, meanwhile, does everything to encourage bold attack from players and singers; even his pauses tremble. All told, it’s a thrilling account.” The Times, 13th September 2013 ****

“an optimum line-up of soloists for our time...Garanca’s lush mezzo sounds like an Amneris in waiting in the Lux aeterna; Pape is a rock in the bass soloist’s pronouncements...I wouldn’t want to be without Kaufmann’s searing Ingemisco and moving, introverted Hostias…” Sunday Times, 22nd September 2013

“It's a thoughtful, considered interpretation that places the emphasis not so much on the terrors of divine judgment as on mankind's suffering in the face of the unknown...the end result makes up in compassion for what it sometimes lacks in visceral excitement.” The Guardian, 10th October 2013 ****

“this performance, exciting and occasionally thrilling though it is, is not remotely Italian...It's a 'through-composed' linked-up performance, paced withy a dramatic curve that makes even the punchiest Italian-led ones...feel like number opera...The non-Italian soloists are in good fearless voice and aurally well integrated into this concept.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Barenboim's interpretative view is grand in conception, with the La Scala performers offering him sufficient depth and richness of tone...the four soloists form a quartet finely balanced in vocal weight and proficiency...this is an impressive account.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2013

Decca - 4785245

(CD - 2 discs)


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