Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

October 2009

Disc of the Month

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Verdi: Requiem


Gramophone Awards 2010

Best of Category - Choral

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - October 2009

Building a Library

First Choice - October 2015

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Release date:

7th Sept 2009




84 minutes


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Verdi: Requiem

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In the words of Antonio Pappano, himself born to Italian parents, “this is a Requiem written by an Italian and I think Italians’ relationship to religion is explosive, full of temperament, full of fear. …. And the spectre of being punished, of sins – it sounds like an opera I’m describing. …I love doing this piece here in Rome with an Italian chorus and an Italian orchestra, and they have an innate sense of what this music is about, how to bring it to life. They really know what the words mean. They have lived what it is to be religious or spiritual in Italy.”

Interviewed at the time of the performances, Rolando Villazón discusses the same subject: “Many say that this is the best opera Verdi ever wrote. Clearly it’s not … but the theatricality of the piece requires something more than what you would use for an oratorio … It’s a very delicate balance singers have to have. … You have to respect the style of this church piece, and at the same time you have to bring out the emotion.”

To that end, Antonio Pappano brings out the extremes of dynamics in the orchestral, solo and chorus parts: the opening, one of Pappano’s favourite sections, is hushed and what Hugh Canning describes as “the great ‘horror’ moments [send] shivers down the spine.”

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Requiem


Kyrie eleison

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Sequenza

Dies irae

Tuba mirum

Mors stupebit

Liber scriptus - Dies irae

Quid sum miser

Rex tremendae



Confutatis - Dies irae


Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Offertorio

Domine Jesu Christe


Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem


Agnus Dei

Lux Aeterna

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Libera Me

Libera me, Domine

Dies irae

Requiem, aeternam

Libera me, Domine

BBC Music Magazine

October 2009


“Pappano's conducting maintains a firm control of his forces, showing a sense of drama that includes an awareness of the importance of some crucial moments of silence. Pappano's soloists are evenly matched. Soprano Anja Harteros is beautifully controlled, while mezzo Sonia Ganassi supplies a properly Italianate lyric intensity. ...tenor Rolando Villazón displays... his regular fierce personal commitment to whatever he is singing... René Pape's bass is large and sonorous... The sound captures the work's enormously broad sound picture, as well as a sense of almost infinite receding depth in its overall perspective.”

Charlotte Gardner

21st December 2009

“a gargantuan, extraordinary performance, given by an extraordinary musical cast...Pappano, with his Italian heritage and operatic career, quite obviously has this music coursing through his veins. Recorded in concert, it catapults the listener into the concert hall with its energetic force and surging rhythms. The dramatic contrasts are magnificently worked”

Gramophone Magazine

October 2009

“A Requiem to relish, Pappano's recording is a modern classic. …an authentically Italianate feel is important to any performance of the Requiem. Second nature to Toscanini and Giulini, it is a quality that contributes hugely to the eloquence and allure of Pappano's performance. You hear this early in the sense of a live narrative unfolding which mezzo soprano Sonia Ganassi brings to the "Liber scriptus"...Harteros's lighter...singing, radiant and sympathetic, suits Pappano's reading to perfection... Rolando Villazón is similarly discreet in the self-abasing loveliness of his "Ingemisco"... the bass René Pape is as fine as any on record, strong yet discreet, with a mastery of the subtly inflected cantabile line that is profoundly satisfying.”

The Guardian

11th September 2009


“Pappano surprisingly treats the work primarily as ritual. This is a performance of measured treads and rhythms, ­advancing like some vast processional that flattens everything in its path. Its inexorability leaves you feeling jittery...The choral singing is formidable.”

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Editor's Choice

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Véronique Gens : Tragediennes 2 (from Gluck to Berlioz)

Véronique Gens : Tragediennes 2 (from Gluck to Berlioz)


Herminie Mais sur cette arène guerrière… Il n’est plus… Dieux cruels ! – Herminie


Les Grecs ont disparu…Malheureux Roi (from Les Troyens)


Ah! Nos peines seront communes (from Médée)


Grands dieux soutenez mon courage… Ah ! Divinités implacables (from Alceste)

Orfeo ed Euridice (Orphée et Euridice): Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Air de Furies


Andromaque C’est le seul espoir qui me reste… Si fidèle au nœud qui l’engage – Hermione


Didon Non, ce n’est plus pour moi – Didon


Les Paladins Entrée très gaye de Troubadours

Triste séjour – Argie


Les Paladins Menuets I & II

Sacchini, G:

Dardanus Il me fuit… Rien ne peut émouvoir – Iphise

Cesse cruel amour de régner sur mon âme – Iphise

Œdipe à Colone Dieux, ce n’est pas pour moi que ma voix vous implore – Antigone

Renaud Hélas vous le dirais-je… Ah ! Que dis-tu ? – Armide

Soprano Véronique Gens, one of the leading French singers of today, presents an imaginatively programmed sequel to her award-winning 2006 recital of tragic operatic heroines.

This second album of Tragédiennes features arias and ballet music from the 18th and 19th centuries, from the Baroque (Rameau) to the Romantic (Berlioz) by way of such important transitional figures as Gluck – a composer whose heroine figure prominently in Gens’ schedule in 2010, with Alceste in Aix-en-Provence, Iphigénie en Aulide in Brussels and Iphigénie en Tauride in Vienna – Cherubini, and lesser-known figures such as Piccini, Sacchini and Arriaga, the ‘Spanish Mozart’, who died at the age of just 19.

Reviewing the first Tragédiennes, Opera magazine described Gens as “a soprano moulded by the best performance traditions of the French Baroque rediscovery of recent decades, but also one capable — as she has proved live and on record — of compassing Mozart and Berlioz in her repertory. Gens’s liquid-toned soprano … [with its] evenness of vocal production and command of line and tone ... is the programme’s binding and focal point, and always balm to the ears.”

Opera went on to say that “[the programme] shows off Gens’s sophisticated mastery of recitative declamation and aria-shaping and her considerable command of the various necessary vocal styles and manners, while at the same time blending historical nous, musical novelty, vocal attraction and dramatic liveliness in a manner rarely encountered today. The project was obviously carefully conceived and prepared; hard indeed to imagine it without Rousset and his splendid orchestra, who interleave the vocal items with some well-chosen instrumental items from the works in question … it’s a CD worth acquiring by anyone with the smallest interest in the singer, the period and the genres on display.”

As Gramophone said of the first album: “Gens's great gift is in differentiating between the various tragic heroines and bringing total dramatic commitment to each. There's anger spat out at white heat but there's also quiet, brooding hysteria – all characterised to perfection. And in Christophe Rousset and his Talens Lyriques she has partners on a truly exalted plane of imagination, musicality and sheer theatrical flair.”

“Gens's singing is razor-sharp and powerfully direct, matching the period instruments well.” The Observer, 21st June 2009

“The much-admired French soprano Véronique Gens presents an interesting selection of music drawn from the relatively little-known repertoire of French classical’s good to hear this music attacked with such gusto.” The Telegraph, 10th June 2009 ***

“…a wonderful odyssey through late Baroque to early Romantic French opera. Gens's agile voice is the perfect vehicle to cope with these emotional extremes, from the enchanting to the chilling. She is never afraid to sacrifice pure beauty of sound in favour of rhetorical and dramatic effect, giving due weight to the plights, laments and plangent outpourings of these timeless, tragic heroines. Rousset coaxes some crack playing from Les Talens Lyriques, combining the immediacy and intimacy of chamber music with all the colours and intensity of a large-scale symphony orchestra.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2009 *****

“Gens's immaculate way with a text is often as mesmerising as her ability to sustain the long sculpted lines that are a common stylistic feature among her chosen composers. There are some surprises: she sings Cassandra's music from Berlioz's Les Troyens, where we might expect to hear her as Dido; when she turns to Cherubini's Medea, for what is probably the greatest track on the disc, it is to play the sorrowing maid Neris, rather than the pathological heroine.” The Guardian, 17th July 2009 ****

“This second Tragédiennes volume is easily equal to the first and that must be praise enough. I would not immediately have thought of Gens as an ideal interpreter of Néris, Medea's confidante in Cherubini's opera, but she sings the aria, with its lovely oboe obbligato, with quiet dignity.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2009

Erato Tragediennes - 2165742



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Liszt Abroad

Liszt Abroad


O quand je dors (Hugo), S282

Enfant, si j'étais roi (Hugo), S283


Comment, disaient-ils (Hugo), S276

Im Rhein, im schönen Strome, S272

Die Lorelei

Die Vätergruft, S.281

Sonetti di Petrarca (3) for voice & piano, S270

Go not, happy day

Gebet, S265

Morgens steh ich auf und frage, S290

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, S309

Du bist wie eine Blume

Wie singt die Lerche schon. S. 312

Blume und Duft

Und wir dachten der Toten

Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh (Wandrers Nachtlied II), S.306

Rebecca Evans (soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor), Matthew Rose (baritone) & Iain Burnside (piano)

Perhaps stemming from his years touring Europe as a virtuoso pianist or from his later émigré life in Paris, Franz Liszt's choice of song texts reflect his 'polyglot' attraction to the 19th Century literature and culture of many different countries, shown in these settings of French, German, Italian, English, Russian and Hungarian words.

“The 20 songs recorded here cover a vast range of language and expression… Burnside is a faultless guide along this journey, exhibiting power when required but never forcing either tone or pace; and his pianissimo playing reminds me of Gerald Moore's… The singing too is exemplary, with Rebecca Evans's floated high notes things of exquisite beauty.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 *****

“The Three Sonnets are sung by Rebecca Evans - surprisingly, perhaps, but very beautifully. …her soft high tones, as in the last phrase of the first sonnet, are magically poised. Kennedy, too, is at his best, masterly indeed in "Die Loreley". Burnside himself, presiding spirit throughout, accompanies expertly.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2009

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010

Vocal Finalist

Signum - SIGCD155



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Elgar & Schnittke - Viola Concertos

Elgar & Schnittke - Viola Concertos


Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

arranged for viola by Lionel Tertis / David Aaron Carpenter


Viola Concerto

Ondine is delighted to present 22-year-old, New York-born violist David Aaron Carpenter’s debut recording. This will be the first of several recordings under a recent agreement between Ondine and the artist. David Aaron Carpenter has been the protégé of several major international musical figures, such as Pinchas Zukerman, Yuri Bashmet and Christoph Eschenbach.

David Aaron Carpenter has recently emerged as one of the world’s most promising young talents, winning, in 2006, the prestigious Walter E. Naumburg Viola Competition and being the 2007 protégé for The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the youngest in this mentorship programme’s history.

David Aaron Carpenter adapted much of the Elgar Concerto himself, using the well-known and Elgar-sanctioned arrangement by Lionel Tertis as his basis.

Ondine shares in David Aaron Carpenter’s mission to focus attention on the viola as a great solo string instrument in its own right.

“It has been many years since I heard such a phenomenal talent as David Aaron Carpenter. He combines an endless imagination with a staggering technique, and making music together with him is a true joy.” Christoph Eschenbach

“I wasn’t expecting the breadth of the concerto’s opening to be as successfully captured, not just in Carpenter’s plangent, vocal sound, but with the intimate warmth of the Philharmonia, and Christoph Eschenbach’s effortless accompaniment...but it’s the stunning conviction and searing performance of the Schnittke that’s going to keep me returning to this one” Charlotte Gardner,, 14th September 2007

“…Lionel Tertis's… transcription of Elgar's Cello Concerto in 1929. …been overhauled by Carpenter… Carpenter gives a commandingly articulate display, and the Philharmonia are on immaculately scrubbed form under Christoph Eschenbach's thoughtful lead. ...the powerful Schnittke Concerto... is an excitingly intrepid and deeply sincere creation, as provocative in its wild extremes of mood as it is intriguing in its fruitful juxtaposition of old and new. ...Carpenter plays with superlative assurance and magnetic conviction... an impressive and bold debut.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

“There's a huge amount to admire in his playing - the feather-light agility, the sumptuous tone, the generous phrasing” The Guardian, 21st August 2009 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2009

Ondine - ODE11532



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Saint-Saëns - Piano Quartets

Saint-Saëns - Piano Quartets


Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41

Piano Quartet in E major

Romance du soir, Op. 118

Mozart Piano Quartet

Saint-Saens was himself an excellent pianist, so many of his chamber works feature the piano. The Mozart Piano Quartet was founded in 2000 and is now one of the leading piano quartets in the world. “The Mozart Piano Quartet provide these works with enthusiastic advocacy and MDG’s sound is a model of clarity and natural balance….” Gramophone Magazine

“The Mozart Piano Quartet play both quartets with considerable élan, evoking the spirit of their namesake in Saint-Saëns's beautifully balanced, often gossamer textures. Where power is required, though… they respond with assurance. …a splendid disc.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2009

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

MDG Gold - MDG9431519



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