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on 15 August 2001
Gardiner's reading of the requiem is the most viscerally thrilling on record. The dies irae through to the mors stupebit in particular will leave you drained, such is their intensity. As in most of his recordings, Gardiner clarifies the textures of the music so as to draw to your attention details of which you may have been completely unaware. Many other recordings of this piece sound "sludgy" by comparison and are surprisingly devoid of this performance's (or in fact any) intensity of feeling. The soloists are all excellent. Regardless of whether you are a period instrument fan, this is the best and most moving recording available.
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on 24 July 2006
I had in my collection Richard Hickox's recording of this alongside Solti's rendition. I was then told that, apparently allegedly etc, that Sir John Eliot thought his recording of Verdi's Requiem was his finest recording to date, so I had to buy it.

It is true - the performance of the Requiem and the four Sacred pieces are masterful. The Dies Irae, that most famous moment, is typical Gardiner - punchy and driven with no let up - 'day of wrath and doom impending' indeed. However, in the more gentle moments, such as the opening and later in the Libera me, Gardiner weaves a beautiful serenity into the performance.

The test for me with this piece is the 'Domine, libera, Domine' at the very end with the almost-Spanishlike dance where the fugues of 'cum iudicare' build up into a full choir & orchestra frenzy, the soprano soaring high above them - the frenzy is manic, but superbly controlled by Sir John Eliot. Gardiner's choice of soloists is superb, especially the soprano Luba Orgonasova, whose voice matches the music perfectly.

Even if Sir John Eliot didn't say it was his finest recording, there's every evidence here to suggest that it could be.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 February 2014
Muti, Giulini, Abbado, Toscanini, Solti all have space on my cd shelves, yet the shock waves unleashed by this dramatic performance and dramatically engineered recording of the requiem are simply overwheming. This is by far and away one of the greatest choral recordings to date. An earlier reviewer refer to this disc as "viscerally thrilling " and you had better believe it...Let your own ears be the judge! Highly recommended not just for the sonics but the artistic integrity in this entire enterprise. I had initial doubts before picking up a copy cheaply of this recording that the "period" orchestral forces would not convey the full scale and impact of this masterpiece ...I feared there might be insufficient weight ....suffice to say I was blown away! This quality of performance and sheer excellence of the the sounds captured in this recording are a revelation and for me this has easily become my surprising primary recommendation for the Verdi requiem, albeit that I would not wish to be without the other great readings in my collection...but if pushed to retain only one recording then it would be this powerfully projected performance which is so atmospherically captured and is the nearest I have discovered to being in the concert hall...awe inspiring!!!
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on 17 April 2014
This recording impressed me greatly. The single most impressive aspect for me was the Monteverdi choir: their singing is precise, clear, and beautifully modulated, but they have the heft needed when it comes to the moments of drama and terror.

The Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, with period instruments, produce a sound that sets them apart; and for someone that has several recordings of the Verdi Requiem (with stalwarts like the Vienna Phil and Berlin Phil) it is refreshing. The wind section in particular stand out.

To nit-pick I missed the presence of bigger voices in the solo bass and mezzo parts - Von Otter and Miles are professional and skilled, but as I say, I miss the Ludwig, Cossotto, the Ghiaurov and Raimondi.

A stand out moment was the unaccompanied soprano and chorus reprise Requiem Aeternam in the Libera Me. The line and colouring from all was superb. There was an atmosphere that chilled me, and whilst it is usually a wonderful moment in most Requiem recordings Orgonasova and the Monteverdi choir lifted it into another league.
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on 28 December 2012
I have always loved this work and bought it to have it on CD. A good place to start if you are getting interested in classical music.
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on 3 March 2012
Whilst I can only agree with previous reviewers as to the quality of this performance & recording, this review is about what Universal Classics has done to the packaging!

Firstly, the item isn't as shown in the image & description, as it is a re-release on Decca. As you might be aware, Philips, Decca & DG now come under the Universal Classics umbrella. It seems that Philips as a label is being discontinued, so many of their recordings are now being reissued on Decca.
Unfortunately with this reissue, they have produced what almost resembles a cheap counterfeit copy. The cover image has been cropped in order (I suppose) to hide the original Philips banner, thus zooming it in & making it look like it was printed on an average home colour printer. The font on the back cover spelling out Verdi's name & dates is 'lopped off' at the top, as if the print cartridge was running out of ink!
Whilst you certainly shouldn't judge a book (or CD for that matter) by it's cover, its a shame that Universal have been so lazy in the re-design as it arguably makes the contents look 2nd rate, when it most certainly is not!
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on 24 February 2013
Needed to hear Verdi's requiem before trying to sing in the chorus. The light and shade is very well done - some parts are so quiet you wonder whether the sound is right. Then comes a blast form the other extreme. Excellent soloists and chorus.
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on 6 February 2013
An excellent performance. Exciting and superbly musical. John Eliot Gardiner triumphs again. All of the soloists sing beautifully and balance really well.
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on 8 June 2013
Lovely music.Difficult to listen to in the car as the difference of volume is too much between pianos and fortes.
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