Verdi: Messa da Requiemby Claudio Abbado
Although some of our greatest singers and conductors have recorded Verdi's Requiem, only a handful of versions can be recommended. Happily, this live performance from January 2001 is among those precious few. Not everything is perfect, though: Daniela Barcellona's warm, lovely mezzo-soprano lacks the mettle needed to set one's hair on end in the "Liber scriptus," for example. And the sound quality, though rich and wonderfully wide-ranging, occasionally lacks the necessary sonic punch. But there is so much here to admire that such criticisms seem insignificant. Angela Gheorghiu is at her expressive best -- her dark, steely tone perfectly suited to the music. In Roberto Alagna we have a tenor who can sing beautifully, even in the most strenuous passages. He generally avoids the un-Verdian, verismo-style sobs most tenors indulge in, although he sometimes comes close in his intensely felt, unusually articulate singing of the "Ingemisco." Julian Konstantinov's sonorous bass provides a solid foundation for the solo quartet. Other singers have made the "Mors stupebit" more terrifying, but Konstaninov's is still a commanding presence. Special mention must be made of the choral singing, for the Swedish Radio Chorus and Eric Ericson Chamber Choir are superb throughout: Their tonal blend and unanimity of expression are simply awesome. Conductor Claudio Abbado captures the score's devotional spirit as well as its dramatic power -- and, of course, the Berlin Philharmonic's burnished sound seems tailor-made for this piece. If the glitzy, brash quality of the recent Gergiev recording (with Fleming, Borodina, and Bocelli, on Philips) turned you off, this probing, profound interpretation will probably be more to your liking. Strongly recommended.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
- Requiem Mass, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (Manzoni Requiem)
Performance CreditsClaudio Abbado Primary Artist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love sacred music, and Verdi's Requiem is no exception! The chorus displays amazing versatility: soft, whisper-like characteristics in gentle sections (unlike most recordings, which sound too shrill) and also the bold sense of terror at the "Dies Irae". Kudos to the soloists, too! This virtuoso quartet blends beautifully without overdoing it. The Berlin Philharmonic brings even more to love about this piece! If you could have one recording of this Requiem, buy this one! Bravo!