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Admirable but not without fault,
This review is from: Verdi : Messa da Requiem (Audio CD)
Very similar in tempi and phrasing to his more recent Verdi Requiem, this earlier recording by Barenboim is admirable without quite reaching the interpretative or vocal heights of classic versions. I find his approach slightly staid rather than intense.
On the credit side, the sound is wonderful: spacious and imposing; the soloists are certainly fine but with certain caveats. I particularly enjoy Alessandra Marc's big, soaring sound and she has the Verdian amplitude Harteros lacks in the later recording. However, she sometimes scoops and although I don't actually think her intonation is as faulty as some critics have maintained, sometimes a certain squeezed and unsupported quality, as in her last B flat on "Requiem" in the "Libera me" is suggestive of flatness. Domingo is excellent as always, especially in his soft singing in the "Ingemisco" and the "Hostias" although he is inevitably slighter drier of tone than he was many years before for Bernstein.
About the mezzo-soprano and bass I am less sanguine: both seem to offer a facsimile of the real thing required, insofar as Meier has a slightly thin, acerbic voice which is not really ideally rounded - but she certainly acquits herself well within the limitations of her vocal type and she presents a good contrast with Marc, whereas in Barenboim's La Scala recording the two voices sound too similar. Furlanetto is intermittently imposing but I don't like the way he growls and groans, as if attempting to inject a heft into a sound which basses like Siepi and Ghiaurov make without undue vocal manipulation - and he has no trill or even a bluff for one.
In short a good Requiem but not a great one.