Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a first choice, 4 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Verdi: Messa da Requiem - Sony Classical Masters (Audio CD)
Never having been a fan of Solti, I bought this disc solely to hear Janet Baker in this fantastic music. In that respect I was not disappointed; she sings the mezzo solo "Liber scriptus" wonderfully and no less so in the duet "Recordare" and the other ensembles. Jose van Dam is also very moving and well-suited to this work. Unfortunately I cannot enthuse over Leontine Price or Veriano Lucchetti. Price constantly scoops from one note to the next (portamento is too polite a term), and her lower range, heard especially in the "Libera me", lacks depth. Lucchetti is also disappointing, with vague starts to musical phrases and a general lack of subtlety.

The Chicago Symphony Chorus is excellent; choruses do not come much better than this. Likewise the orchestra, and the combination in the eight-part fugal "Sanctus" is beautifully clear - until the brass enters. The recording gives the brass far too much prominence, so that when they are playing loudly the rest is obscured. Because of this, the "Tuba mirum" is not as frightening as it should be, indeed it is difficult to hear much of the important chorus parts in that section. Aside from that, the recording captures Verdi's wide-ranging dynamics, from the quiet mood of the opening to the enormous drum-beats in the "Dies irae" very well.

With the whole work on one disc, this is a great bargain, but even so I would not have this as a first choice. Buy it for Baker, van Dam and the chorus, but listen also to Abbado (with the Berlin Phil) and Giulini. Both are currently only a few pounds more, and with Giulini you get the Four Sacred Pieces as well.
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Location: Birmingham, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,723