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Verdi: Messa da Requiem/Four Sacred Pieces Box set

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

Price: £19.99
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Product details

  • Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
  • Audio CD (5 Feb. 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000058UT3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,923 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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12
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14
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15
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Disc 2
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4
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5
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6
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Product Description

Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Etc / Giulini, Schwarzkopf, Et Al . Release Date: 04/10/2001 . Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century . Catalog #: 67560 . Spars Code: ADD . Composer: Giuseppe Verdi . Performer: Nicolai Ghiaurov, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, ... Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini . Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus . Number of Discs: 2 . Recorded in: Stereo . Length: 2 Hours 9 Mins. Works on This Recording: 1. Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi Performer: Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano) Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus Period: Romantic Written: 1874; Italy Date of Recording: 1963-64 Venue: Kingway Hall, London, England Length: 87 Minutes 51 Secs. Language: Latin 2. Quattro pezzi sacri by Giuseppe Verdi Performer: Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano) Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus Written: pub 1898 Date of Recording: 12/1962 Venue: Kingway Hall, London, England Length: 40 Minutes 54 Secs. Language: Latin

Customer Reviews

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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This set can be recommended from two points of view. Firstly it contains all Verdi's mature choral works; and in the second place this account of the Requiem is perhaps the greatest ever recorded. After the Requiem came Otello and Faslstaff, and last of all he gave us the Four Sacred Pieces. Two of these are for unaccompanied voices, one in particular featuring an allegedly special scale, which I doubt we would be aware of if we had not been told. They are only described as 'academic' or as 'exercises' because they are by Verdi, who put up a smokescreen of self-ascribed simplicity all his career. In fact he had always studied and loved the mediaeval Italian polyphonists and these two compositions can easily rank with similar works by Brahms in my opinion. In Brahms or Bach we take the academic element for granted as all part of the style, which is entirely in the German tradition. Verdi was almost as exclusively based in his own country's music - all he took from German music was features of style that Italy had given to Germany in the first place, and we hear him at that with the explicit reference to Schubert's A minor quartet at the start of the Requiem. However there is more unaccompanied vocal work in his Requiem than in anything in the German choral/orchestral repertory, and that should not surprise us.
There is a slightly average liner-note that assures us solemnly that 'it is not necessary to be a practising Catholic...to conduct Verdi's sacred music'. I guess that lets Toscanini off the hook, and I don't think Giulini's performance of the Te Deum is quite the equal of his. However in the Requiem Giulini seems to me to surpass everyone I've ever heard, Toscanini among them.
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By Trev-R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I could not improve on the excellent review by David Bryson so I won't try. My only additions are that on my setup some of the louder passages have an amount of distortion. The levels between the quietest and loudest parts means I found it tricky to get a comfortable volume level that allowed me to listen comfortably without occasionally having to adjust the volume. Of course this could just be my system and you may find that this recording plays OK on your system.
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Format: Audio CD
David Bryson's excellent review describes this wonderful performance with an expertise that I don't possess, thank you David.
However, he doesn't mention the awful distortion in the loud passages, which spoils the enjoyment of the otherwise masterful Dies Irae and obliges the listener to keep the volume control low (and even then I find myself cringing in my armchair!).
Such a shame that the engineers at Abbey Road couldn't overcome this when remastering; one has to presume they tried. Certainly the poweful dynamics involved would have presented a terrific challenge to the original recording engineers, but even so...
I'll have to shop around for another version, inevitably less exciting in performance, but with an audio quality worthy of this great work. Such a pity.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I too, totally endorse David Bryson's now celebrated review of this great work (September 2005), but would like to add some comments of my own as a supplement, so to speak, in order to recommend it even further to prospective buyers.

David has picked up a point in the notes, namely "it is not necessary to be a practising Catholic...to conduct Verdi's sacred music". However, such a person can lend an additional fervour to this kind of music, and there is no doubt in my mind that Giulini does just this; I believe this is what makes his version the greatest performance ever upon record. As David says, Giulini did other versions, but never quite got it so right again. The amazing contrasts of sound, ranging from the barely audible opening to the climaxes of the Kyrie, the violence of the famous "Dies Irae", and the progress of the "Rex Tremendae" are things which no other conductor quite achieves. The Dies Irae is truly awesome, and frightening: which is what it should be, but there are moments of incredible beauty and serenity in the sequence (tracks 3 - 11).

It's also very exciting! The Sanctus explodes, and the Osanna (track 14)is quite joyful (almost we could be in the Italian camp with Preziosilla in "Forza del Destino"). Finally the "Libera Me" is drama par excellence.

Let's not forget that Verdi is primarly an Opera Composer: lovers of his Operas will find many parallels. All through this work there are extremes of emotion and passion, which we are surely familiar with in his Operatic works: in this respect, I would recommend buyers to Giulini's "Don Carlos", arguably the finest (and uncut) verson of this work, where you will again find a fervour which is in the Requiem. This is, in fact, an Operatic Requiem.
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