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Renowned worldwide in his lifetime and remembered today as a double bass virtuoso, Giovanni Bottesini excelled in every branch of musicianship, but his operas and sacred works were overshadowed by those of Verdi and have fallen into neglect. Composed in response to the death of his brother Luigi, Bottesini’s large scale Requiem combines ecclesiastical counterpoint with formal innovation and the expressive lyricism and dramatic orchestration of operatic models.
With double bass virtuoso Thomas Martin stepping into conductor’s shoes in Bottesini’s unjustly neglected Requiem, this is one of our major releases of the season, which will be sure to generate wide interest. With an extremely strong set of soloists, The Joyful Company of Singers’ “conviction and a real depth of feeling” (Gramophone on 8557783, Williamson Choral Music), and the renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra, this is a large-scale work to stand alongside Verdi’s famous Requiem, but by contrast having the CD market entirely to itself.
“This 1877 Requiem is wonderfully derivative — the composer of an opera called Ali Babà behaves like the 40 thieves himself. What doesn’t sound like Mozart sounds like Mendelssohn. But it’s a surprisingly cheery, tuneful work; adventurous choral societies should seek it out.”
“It's worth buying the disc just to enjoy [Prunell-Friend's] aria, with its exquisite clarinet obbligato. The other soloists give equally operatic and distinguished performances. The Joyful Company of Singers are also on splendid form and sing this music as though they've known it for years.”