Confession time: the Verdi Requiem is my all-time favourite piece. My Desert Island Disc. I own eight or nine recordings of it - the Solti, the Shaw, the Gergiev, the Hickox, the Reiner, the Elliot Gardiner, and Abbado's last recording which boasts the most perfectly balanced vocal quartet of soloists on any recoding - but as an over all experience, this one wins. The fire of Gergiev was dulled by some excessively slow tempi; Abbado hits an extreme or two (fast and slow) but never leaves you bemused by his choices. Reiner is glorious but the recording shows its age, with too many audible edits on CD. Elliot Gardiner gained many fans for the musicality of his reading, but for my money never really let his hair down enough in the big moments. Too controlled. Too English. The climax of this Libera Me created a spine-tingling frisson the like of which I have not had for many a moon. Gheorghiu knocks spots off the melodramatic Flemming for Gergiev; her husband is in an altogether different league from the pitifully undervoiced Bocelli on the same recording. True, I missed some of the orchestral fireworks on the Phillips disc, but here at last is a Requiem I can return to again and again. Everything works, it's as simple as that. Highlights - Alagna's 'Ingemisco'; a perfect 'Lacrymosa'; the whole of the 'Libera Me'. The first time I heard Placido Domingo at Covent Garden, I was simply amazed at how musical his singing was: it wasn't overly clever or emotional, there were no histrionics, it was just perfect. I felt the same way time and again listening to this. And if at times I thought a moment was underplayed (compare Gergiev's ear-splitting climax to the 'Sanctus') in context of the whole performance, it always felt right. Full marks. And many thanks. And just buy the thing - it is the clear front runner in a very crowded field.