Acknowledged to be the finest Karajan recording of this overwhelming sacred masterpiece - "electrifying … with the Italian chorus and orchestra singing and playing their hearts out … a historic document" (Gramophone). This 1967 performance features four of the 20th century's greatest Verdi singers - Price, Cossotto and Ghiaurov were at the peak of their careers, while the young Pavarotti was still comparatively unknown (though not for long).
For a few decades now, Fritz Reiner's recording of the Verdi Requiem (one of his rare stereo recordings not made for RCA, and not with the Chicago Symphony) has lurked in the shadowy corners of Decca's catalog, appearing only on budget LPs and CD two-fers. Now, in its latest incarnation as part of the Decca Legends series, it may at last get the recognition it deserves. Reiner's rendition has several things going for it, not least of which are the superstar soprano and tenor soloists.
Abbado's Verdi recordings are some of the finest available and this Requiem recording is no expection. Abbado takes a less ferocious approach than say Muti, or Barenboim, balancing the dramatic moments effectively against the more introspective aspects of the score. Ricciarelli is in fine form here, singing with a fine sense of line and intense emotional declamation. Her intonation is perfect. Verrett blends seamlessly with Ricciarelli, making the most of their duet and capturing the intense sadness of much of the writing quite well. Domingo, in his first recording of the part, provides a steady stream of golden tone, effortlessly produced. His emotional temperature runs about right here - not overly dramatic - after all, this is not Aida - but strong feelings kept on a tight rein. Ghiaurov is phenomenal. His gigantic bass somehow anchoring the entire quartet and chorus into an imposing yet gorgeous Verdian soundscape. There are many excellent Verdi Requiem recordings - this is surely one of the very best.
A major strength of the Parma performances has been the contribution of the theatre’s chorus. So it proves here as well. Along with the choral contribution, and that of the four soloists, I always listen carefully to hear how the conductor controls the dynamics of the opening Requiem Eternam…the thrilling Tuba Mirum…and the Dies irae and its reprise. Yuri Temirkanov, Musical Director of the Teatro Regio, passes my tests with an ethereally quiet opening. Add to this a viscerally exciting lead into the Mors stupebit…
The last recording of conductor Lorin Maazel. World-famous conductor Lorin Maazel was chief conductor of the Münchner Philharmoniker until shortly before his death in July 2014 at the age of 84. This live recording, which happened in February 2014, is probably the last recording of Maazel. It documents an acclaimed and moving concert in the Munich Philharmonie with Lorin Maazel and the Münchner Philharmoniker and their choir per-forming Verdi’s famous requiem. The excellent soloists were Anja Harteros (soprano), Daniela Barcellona (mezzo-soprano), Wookyung Kim (tenor) and Georg Zeppenfeld (bass).
The fiftieth anniversary of Toscanini’s death in 2007 was celebrated with gala concerts around the world, one of the most glamorous events being this benefit concert at the basilica of St Mark’s in Venice. The 11-year-old child prodigy Lorin Maazel once met the Italian maestro in New York, and Toscanini’s legacy left a permanent mark on Maazel as a musician. His tour with the Symphonica Toscanini, called “In the Footsteps of Toscanini”, culminated in two concerts in Venice featuring Verdi’s Requiem, a showpiece of Toscanini’s, and St Mark’s, the birthplace of stereophonic and quadraphonic sound, proved to be an ideal venue for this eloquent and musically impressive confessional work.