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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Verdi, 19 Nov 2011
Per Arne Rudberg "P-A Rudberg" (Vallentuna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
I have several recording of this requiem that I put very high:
- Toscanini (Milanov/Castagna/Björling/Moscona)
- Giulini (Schwartzkopf/Ludwig/Gedda/Ghiaurov)
- Solti (Sutherland/Horne/Pavarotti/Talvela).

The Toscanini has the drive and intensity, but the singers are not at their best. Milanov is superb, but Björling is singing under par and Moscona has real problems.
The Giulini is seen as the ultimate recording by many. It's very true to the score. It has a clarity and every detail fits into the whole. (The beginning is absolutely breathtaking!) The singers are delivering at their very best. But in my opinion they are a bit too "cultivated". Although Ghiaurov is absolutely stunning in his understanding and vocal abilities.
The Solti is vibrant and full of energy. The singers don't always melt together, but to hear Pavarotti in this recording is sheer joy.

The Reiner recording has all the things I love in this music - excellent orchestra/chorus and superb soloists fitting perfectly together. It has an operatic feeling that suits the music, without becoming just drama for the sake of drama.
Reiner is driving the music forward without false sentimentality.
And to have Price and Björling together - I wish there had been much more of that.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A towering monument, 28 Dec 2011
S Duncan "sfedlandd" (London) - See all my reviews
I find no faults with this recording and I must say, of all the others, this is the best that I've heard. As much as I have always adored von Karajan, Reiner's pacing is even more elegant and noble. The orchestra delivers superlative playing under his baton and the chorus is exquisite! There is that perfect melding of instruments and voices, where just the right balance is maintained. The 'Lacrymosa' and final 'Libera me' are shining examples of this- where the pathos resounding grandeur of Verdi's music are arguably at their peak...and you will be brought to your knees.

Leontyne Price went on to sing this role a few times and I heard her Solti recording. I dare say: this is not only her best but THE best sung soprano role for this work that I have heard. Her later Solti recording was at times unpleasant by comparison and I would recommend other recordings above the Solti. But here, she SOARS and delivers heart-stopping moments of sensitive, beautiful singing....chilling pianissimi, visceral lower notes and the show-stopping `Libera me' at the end of the Requiem is unparalleled! Listen to her supplicant `Domine, Domine, libera me....' and the tremulous `de morte eternal,' and then with utterly disarming vocal power how she beautifully soars above chorus and orchestra in that final crescendo! Special mention to Reiner here for his superior pacing during the `Domine, Domine...'- for some reason, this is usually rushed, leaving the soprano almost playing catch-up; I've always found it very odd. That sort of timing had just never made sense but here Reiner's pace is deliberate and gives due significance to the passage and the melody. Rosalind Elias' mezzo is a dream, with that rich timbre that made her such a sympathetic and sensitive Suzuki in Madame Butterfly. She sings in opulent, distinctive voice throughout and blends perfectly with Price in the `Recordare.' Jussi Bjorling's tenor is faultless in my view- at times, he reminded me of Plácido Domingo. He sings sensitively enough, if perhaps leaning towards the more heroic but the opening reflection during his `Ingemisco' is compelling. As for Giorgio Tozzi, his rich, full, blooming bass-baritone is among the greatest interpreters of the role. He is both warm and reflective in the quartets (e.g., `Domine Jesu') and powerful, secure and majestic (`Confutatis').

As if the Requiem itself wasn't amazing, the Quattro Pezzi Sacri are simply magical! You may as well be standing in Paradise listening to the Angels' vespers, for the sheer beauty of it! I thoroughly recommend this recording as a clear first choice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling Requiem, 24 Sep 2013
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What strikes you immediately about this recording of the Verdi Requiem is the pacing. Reiner is slow, but there is intelligent thinking going on. He weighs down the passages of the Dies Irae ensuring a gravitas and solemnity that is often missing. There is a reverence here, too, that chills the spine - even for a dogged atheist like me.

Then we come to the soloists, who are faultless: Jussi Bjorling recorded this just a few months before his death in 1960. He had sung it under Toscanini. His voice, in turns, is angelic, powerful, and meltingly soft. To my ears the best recording of the tenor part; Leontyne Price recorded it later under Solti but here is a youthful soprano tackling the high register with ease - always expressive but never operatically so; Rosalind Elias's voice is honeyed, her vocal line superb and her duets with Price, in particular, are simply stunning; I thought Giorgio Tozzi may have been a little light for the bass part, but not a bit of it - his presence matches the calibre alongside him and his lower register is all there.

The Vienna Philharmonic and the Musikfreunde Chorus shine through in this, thankfully, stereo recording, and Reiner leaves his mark, making it a distinctive Requiem among so many.

It's so worth having. Amen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi's operatic Requiem, 16 Oct 2013
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Excellent classic if rather old recording. Good to compare Sacred Pieces with the Requiem. Worth a listen and good value
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