This recording marks the start of Riccardo Muti's tenure with the Chicago Symphony. It is also his first appearance on the orchestra's own label. Given the reputations of the conductor, the orchestra, and even the label itself, expectations run high are not disappointed. This is as good a Verdi Requiem as you'll find anywhere on disc. It is a distinctive interpretation as well, the work of a conductor who is clearly intent on stamping his identity on his new ensemble. www.classical-cd-reviews.com, October 2010
Verdi's Requiem–certainly one of his most moving, eloquent masterpieces–was written in honor of the great Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni, whom he admired enormously both for his writings and his political outlook. Though its text is the Latin liturgy, it has been called Verdi's greatest opera because of its basically dramatic character, as well as his own ambivalent attitude toward organized religion. Thus, interpretations tend to emphasize its secular or its sacred aspect, though, naturally, the soloists are trained in the Verdi opera tradition.
Celibidache developed a dislike of sound recording early in his career; his work was therefore represented mostly by live performance recordings, many of which were unauthorized.
One of Bernstein's few recorded outings with the London Symphony Orchestra turns out a pretty marvellous account of the Verdi Requiem. It has a young Placido Domingo in the tenor part, and he shines. The other soloists are equally impressive, especially Martina Arroyo in the soprano part. She sings the "Libera Me" with great feeling. Bernstein does go over the top(as usual) in the "Dies irae", but in this case it works and actually adds to the drama. The LSO chorus is quite good too. One of Bernstein's best accomplishments.
Compared to the Decca recording, Solti here has the finer chorus, a better orchestra (for this work at least), and strangely enough, better sound, particularly in this admirable new remastering that minimizes the claustrophobic closeness of the original and allows some air to circulate around the performers. Solti’s interpretation remains consistent, exciting, and direct, with a particularly thrilling account of the brief Sanctus and a Dies Irae chorus that is as violent as anyone could want without ever turning merely brutal or hysterical. - David Hurwitz, Classicstoday.com
Donizetti began writing his Requiem Mass after the death of fellow composer and friend Bellini. Ironically it was not performed until after Donizetti's death in 1848. Lacking a 'Sanctus', 'Benedictus' and 'Agnus Dei', the work is nevertheless a large-scale, powerful and compelling work which is one of Donizetti's most important non-operatic compositions.