This live performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was recorded at a memorable concert in Utrecht in May last year. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir, and Netherlands Children’s Choir are directed by the highly-rated Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden. The soloists are soprano Evelina Dobracheva, tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, and baritone Mark Stone.
Born in Amsterdam in 1960, Jaap Van Zweden began his musical career as a violinist, becoming at 19 the youngest ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
In 1997, van Zweden made the decision to conduct full time, and was named the chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 2003. In 2000, he added the music directorship of the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague to his credits, a post he held until 2005. Jaap van Zweden began his third season as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in September 2010. His commitment to the orchestra was recently extended through the 2015-2016 season.
Coventry Cathedral was almost entirely destroyed during a German air raid in 1940, with only the outer walls, bell tower and tomb of the first bishop remaining intact. The new building was completed in 1962 and musically inaugurated with Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in a performance broadcast live by the BBC. The release of this new recording by Dutch forces coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the new Coventry Cathedral on 30 May.
“With a formidable blend of Slavic steel and sensuality in her rich soprano, she provides the gleaming core to a deeply satisfying Libera me...Griffey's heavy vibrato makes for unevenness and vague diction, and he lacks a certain piercing ardour. Stone is, by contrast, strikingly direct, particularly in his most eloquent soliloquy as the dead German soldier.”
14th July 2012
“A broadly paced, idiomatic War Requiem showcasing fine choral and orchestral contributions and mostly idiomatic solo singing.”
“van Zweden is calm, purposeful, unexaggerated...It is when the emotional temperature needs to rise that van Zweden is sometimes found wanting...the Latin Mass goes well, thanks also to the Slavic-sounding soprano, Evelina Dobracheva, despite the wobble in the middle of her voice...Mark Stone is strong and forthright in the baritone solos”
“Stone's singing...is a revelation, and a strong argument in favour or acquiring this set...a fine example of a singer bringing something new and convincing to a role, thereby enriching our experience of it. The choirs sing with immense skill and feeling, and the orchestral playing leaves nothing to be desired...I can't warm to Griffey's singing, but in all other respects I find this a compelling and moving performance.”
“There’s a good deal to admire in this performance. The Netherlands Radio Choir sings well...The orchestral playing...is on a par with the level of choral accomplishment...[Stone] sings expressively without overdoing things...this performance is, I think, the best thing I’ve heard him do.”
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