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Verdi: Messa da Requiem

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Guiseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (26 Mar. 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00005A7JM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,987 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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6
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7
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8
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9
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10
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Disc 2
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3
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4
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Product Description

Product Description

FLEMING / BORODINA / BOCELLI /

Amazon.co.uk

On this recording of Verdi's remarkable "will and testament", his Requiem of 1874, the playing is everything one could hope for, and moves between the pathos of mourning, the anger of bereavement (the Dies Irae is truly terrifying) and the despair of loss with no emotional short-cuts. Under the direction of maestro Valery Gergiev, the Kirov Orchestra has become one of the world's top ensembles. To hear them play is to expect nothing less than absolute technical perfection: luscious string sounds, iridescent woodwind colours and hair-raising brass blowing. With Gergiev's instinct for drama--the Kirov, after all, is an opera company--their performances are often extraordinarily powerful. The singing is generally beautiful too: when paired with Olga Borodina's volcanic richness of voice, Renée Fleming's cooler approach and miraculous technique are shown off to their best advantage. Andrea Bocelli is perhaps an acquired taste, and doesn't quite possess the abilities to shape a phrase that the others have, but the powerful newcomer Ildebrando D'Arcangelo more than compensates. --Warwick Thompson

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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Take one virtually indestructible masterpiece of vocal and choral music. Add one of the most talented of contemporary conductors, at the helm of his own outstanding orchestra and chorus. Select two of the finest female soloists alive. You wouldn't think Philips could have failed to produce a superlative recording of Verdi's Requiem, given the points in favour of the enterprise, but they could and they did. The reason is very simply summed up: Andrea Bocelli. The line-up of soloists betrays the thinking behind the cast. As a stalwart of the Kirov Opera, Olga Borodina was an obvious choice for the mezzo-soprano role. She is by some way the most successful of the soloists. Renee Fleming, on the other hand, is very much the soprano of the moment. Her singing is certainly beautiful, but, not for the first time, she sounds less than fully involved. One does have to wonder why one of the current crop of Russian sopranos was not considered. Galina Gorchakova, for example, has an impressive record in Verdi's middle period operas and in Aida: the perfect background, one might suppose, for a role in his Requiem. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is rather an identikit bass soloist, entirely competent in the role, but not truly memorable. The real problem with this performance and the reason for emphatically not recommending it is the choice of Andrea Bocelli as the tenor soloist. This production ruthlessly exposes the limitations of his voice and the inadequacy of his technique. Listen, if you must, to the strain in his voice when he sings the passage "Ingemisco tamquam reus". This should be one of the most sublime passages in Verdi's entire output, as, indeed, it is in the famous recording by Jussi Bjoerling.Read more ›
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... but unfortunately the choir sounds muddy and the soloists are trite (Fleming and D'Archangelo) or downright disastrous (Bocelli).
Gergiev certainly has a sense of drama that becomes a magnificent piece like the Verdi Requiem. The tempi and dynamics provides the right setting for the words. For instance the bass drum in Dies Irae and Tuba Mirum sounds like an artillery cannon and it makes my hear skip a beat no matter how many times I hear this part of the recording... Marvellous... Other conductors take note. Trumpets are clear and distinct makin the triplets stand out intense and insisting. And I could go on about the opening cello melody and so on and so on.
Unfortunately the choir doesn't deliver clear diction, so the text is inaudible all the way through. Their intonation is unclear as well, making it impossible as to guess which note the basses are singing on "Te decet hymnus". The only good thing about the choir is the size and ability to sing an unrestrained fortissimo in the places where needed.
The soloists, however, should have been left out of this production with the exception of the russian mezzo. Worst of all is Bocelli. Whenever the tenor part reaches the high g (which happens a lot in Verdi, not just the Requiem), Bocelli starts to sound weak and gets sort of a whimpering quality in his voice. His intonation goes all out of sync, and his rendition of the greatest sacred tenor aria of all time, Ingemisco, quite frankly made me laugh. Fleming is uninspired and D'Arcangelo sound woobly and unclear.
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Not that there has been a dearth of Verdi Requiems on the market, but this one is welcome indeed, although some of the casting seems peculiar. Valery Gergiev gives a ceremonial, at times esoteric, reading: often his slow tempi (try Ingemisco) take his singers to their limits, but ... it works. Once again, Renee Fleming is by far the star of this production, her voice being in perfect condition: radiant top, strong chest notes, soft and creamy center. And, as usual, she knows what the whole piece is about. Olga Borodina offers her sensous, rich voice but not much more. Ildebrando d'Arcangelo gives an interestingly "muscular" reading of his music. Bocelli manages better than one would have thought: his shallow voice gives away only in "Hostias" were -unfortunately- he spoils the atmosphere. That's my only reservation, that is why I cant't give 5 stars!
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Fabulous
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