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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.

CONCERT REVIEWS:

"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 ****

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

LSO Live - LSO0683

(SACD - 2 discs)

$20.25

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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

(CD)

$8.50

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Verdi: Requiem & Four Sacred Pieces

Verdi: Requiem & Four Sacred Pieces


Verdi:

Requiem

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Christa Ludwig (mezzo-soprano), Nicolai Gedda (tenor) & Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)

Quattro Pezzi Sacri


Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini

EMI Masters - 0852192

(CD - 2 discs)

$17.25

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Recorded live at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival


Joan Sutherland (soprano), Fiorenza Cossotto (mezzo), Luigi Ottolini (tenor), Ivo Vinco (bass)

Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus, Carlo Maria Giulini

Both as a man and as a musician Giulini was often thought to be the very embodiment of elegance, in the the sense of someone to whom mannerliness, cultivated taste, and moral integrity mattered. This was true, yet as a rounded view of Giulini the man it takes insufficient account of the force of the fires banked up within. In his 1983 autobiography My First Forty Years Plácido Domingo wrote: ‘It would be difficult to find another musician with Giulini’s combination of gentleness and intensity. His music-making is extremely refined. Yet in [Verdi’s] ‘Dies irae’ he seemed to personify God the Father on the Day of Judgment. Not that he overacted or made pompous gestures: he simply became the music to a frightening degree. It was shocking to see someone who was so good and gentle demonstrate such power.’

It is said that in the ‘Dies irae’ Victor de Sabata would take the baton in both hands and bring it down like an executioner’s axe. Giulini’s baton motion in the ‘Dies irae’ was more like a scythe. In other places the beat was unusually expressive, a skill honed in the opera house where Giulini had worked with distinction during the 1950s. We can hear this in the way in which the singing of the tenor Luigi Ottolini (1925–2002) is so beautifully nursed, the phrasing exquisitely moulded. An accomplished tenor but never a big ‘name’, Ottolini was precisely the kind of soloist with whom Giulini liked to work in the Requiem. The bass Ivo Vinco (b.1927) and the mezzo–soprano Fiorenza Cossotto (b.1935) were also young singers near the start of their careers. (They were in fact husband and wife. They had married in 1958.)

The pairing of Cossotto and Joan Sutherland was another successful musical marriage. Sutherland had not exactly appeared from nowhere when she gave her now famous performances of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden in February 1959. London audiences had known how good she was since the mid–1950s. This Edinburgh performance was also a triumph for the Philharmonia Chorus and its director Wilhelm Pitz. Walter Legge had founded the chorus in 1957 as the choral complement to his already prestigious Philharmonia Orchestra. It had made its international festival debut the previous September singing Handel’s Messiah under Sir Thomas Beecham in Lucerne. Now it found itself in Edinburgh making its own distinctive contribution to a performance which one writer described as being ‘as near to perfection as I ever hope to experience’.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Testament - SBT21494

(CD - 2 discs)

$17.25

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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

(CD - 2 discs)

$24.25

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Verdi: Requiem, etc.

Cherubini:

Requiem in C minor

Verdi:

Requiem


EMI Gemini - 5862392

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.50

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


DVD Video

Region: 0

Sony Karajan Anniversary Edition - 88697296109

(DVD Video)

$11.75

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

DG Unitel - 0734055

(DVD Video)

$23.75

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

From Auditorium Parco della Musica, Roma, 2005


Fiorenza Cedolins, Luciana D’Intino, Ramón Vargas & Rafael Siwek

Coro della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini & Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Zubin Mehta

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

TDK - DVWW-COVREQ

(DVD Video)

$29.25

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Verdi: Requiem & Four Sacred Pieces

Verdi: Requiem & Four Sacred Pieces


Verdi:

Requiem

Quattro Pezzi Sacri


Hailing the ‘burning conviction’ of this recording, Gramophone awarded Riccardo Muti ‘the victor's palm’ for his incandescent interpretation of Verdi’s apocalyptic, yet deeply compassionate setting of the Requiem Mass. Renata Scotto, one of the great Verdi sopranos of her time, leads a powerful quartet of soloists, while the Philharmonia Orchestra and Ambrosian Chorus rise to every challenge of a score that brings the heightened drama of the opera house to a solemn liturgical text.

EMI Riccardo Muti Edition - 0980202

(CD - 2 discs)

$17.25

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