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Verdi: Requiem/Four Sacred Pieces Original recording remastered

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (16 Oct. 2000)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Legends
  • ASIN: B00004XQ8I
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Description

REINER FRITZ

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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent classic if rather old recording. Good to compare Sacred Pieces with the Requiem. Worth a listen and good value
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars London/Decca has given this recording new life 26 Dec. 2000
By cruisewhiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Originally released in the 60's on RCA Red Seal, the first CD version reissued on London/Decca was a dissapointment primarily due to the fact the volume level in the mastering was too low. Now that the engineers have worked on this fantastic performance, I have finally retired the vinyl version. Like they did with Price's Tosca several months back, the remastering has given this recording back it's life. Many recording exist of Verdi Requiem, but I love this one the most. Get it and you will too.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Classic Rendition of the Verdi Requiem 11 Oct. 2005
By Rudy Avila - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 1960 recording of the Verdi Requiem stars Leontyne Price, Bjussi Bjorling, Rosalind Elias and Giorgio Tozzi, big names in opera and their voices are in perfect synchronization and sound noble, majestic and powerful. Leontyne would sing the Requiem again in 1967 under the baton of Herbert Von Karajan at La Scala in a moment captured on film now on DVD, as well as later in the 70's when she sang it under the baton of Solti for a studio recording with Janet Baker and Jose Van Dam. In all these Requiems Leontyne Price is doing a terrific job, her voice is high and mighty, lyrically pleasant, rich and creamy. In her later recordings her voice became much darker and huskier and in this her earliest known recording from 1960 her voice is high and smooth. It has never sounded more gorgeous and being one of the world's greatest interpretors of Verdi it is a treat to hear. Bjussi Jorling is sinigng a hell of a tenor part and he is appropriately lyrical and dramatic. Tozzi is a fine bass and his voice blends with Rosalind Elia's majestic sounding mezzo soprano voice. Fritz Reiner conducts the score with a mixture of operatic drama and spiritual heights. Particularly impressive is the Dies Irae, Tuba Mirum, Agnes Dei and Libera Me. The rest of the recording features Four Sacred Pieces. This is a must have for fans of classical music
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not the most recent remastered release. 21 Nov. 2007
By RENS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Please note that this superb performance has recently been released by Universal as a budget-priced export from Germany fully remastered to reveal an open sound stage and full range without distortion.

This latest remastering (2007) has Richard Strauss's Vienna Death and Transfiguration as the filler rather than the Four Sacred Pieces.

This must-buy gem is available on amazon.com at a delightfully low price.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bjoerling makes the recording 17 Dec. 2004
By gracenote - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is undoubtedly one of the best recordings ever made of this beautiful piece of music. Bjoerling soars fantastically and expressively in all of his singing here (amazing when one considers that he died in the same year (1960) that this recording was made!). Tozzi isn't the strongest bass I've heard on this part (I prefer Raimondi), but he still holds up well. Reiner and the orchestra are fantastic. Highly recommended (also check out the EMI recording of Caballe, Cossotto, Vickers, Raimondi, and the New Philharmonia under Sir John Barbirolli).
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minne seems to have issues with a little noise 6 Sept. 2004
By James Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD has precious little hiss, and it does not affect the greatness of this recording. The only recording to capture Bjorling, and Price together, both singing beautifully. The sound quality is good, and any hiss that occurs does not impede the beauty of the work.

Highly recommended.
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