Although I own more than twenty recordings of the Verdi Requiem and have loved the piece for forty years, ever since I heard Bernstein's TV broadcast from St Paul's (commemorated in what is still a favourite version made with the same forces but recorded in the Albert Hall), for some reason until recently I had avoided acquiring this one. Perhaps I had been put off by untested accusations that Solti's interpretation was all brash theatricality and no vertical sense; perhaps I supposed that Joan Sutherland would be no-one's ideal of a Verdi soprano - but as soon as I finally bought and listened to it, this version leapt to the top of my list alongside three or four favourites including the aforementioned Bernstein on Sony, the famous Reiner recording, the 1952 Toscanini and Karajan's dream-team DVD from 1967(also featuring a young Pavarotti).
Apart from the quality of the sound, the fervour of the chorus and the fact that I think Solti, following Toscanini's model, successfully combines drama with the requisite reverence, the soloists offer an extraordinary combination of qualities: Sutherland's security and amplitude of tone, Horne's magnificent lower register and shining top, Pavarotti's liquid beauty of tone and mesmeric half-voice, and Talvela's rock-solid intonation and resonance; these are all great voices in their prime. Not only that, they combine so well, having sung together quite often by this time. My main criticism centres on pronunciation of the Latin text: I wish Talvela had not employed Germanic Latin; Horne pulls vowels about wilfully; Sutherland, while not as opaque as was sometimes the case, can be indistinct and occasionally falters (as at the start of the "Libera me, domine"); Pavarotti is the only one whose diction shines. But there are many superb moments, such as Sutherland's poised B flats or the thrilling momentum of "Quam olim Abrahae". I found myself swept along by this account - and the spectacular sonics contribute to the excitement of the reading.
An absolutely awesome recording. This was the first time I'd bought a download, being an old-fashioned sort of person, but I found it very easy to download and put on my mp3 player. The sound quality and singing is out of this world.
Georg Solti brings out the most fantastic performance of this music - probably the Rolls Royce of performances and recordings - using the top soloists at the time with an outstanding chorus and orchestra. The work itself is superbly written and to analyse this one soon sees that Verdi must have had divine inspiration when writing it, and every aspect of this is delivered with true feeling for the words. I was very lucky to sing this work under Solti to a capacity audience with most Countries represented by an Ambassador or other major diplomat, leading members of the British Government, leading members of all the religeous denominations, at the Royal Albert Hall for the Malcolm Sargent Memorial Concert and Solti took the prior rehearsals, playing the piano in his outstanding way to show how he wanted to bring out the various aspects of the work. The performance followed shortly after he had made this recording and I hope that we did our best to try and match the quality of his recording. We all left highly inspired and I, for one, will never forget this fantastic experience of singing this work under Solti.
Pavarotti sings like a young God; just to hear his voice soar effortlessly would be worth it, but everybody else is top too. Choir and orchestra are superb. A dramatic, operatic interpretation, which fits the music.
A spectacluar composition perfectly emulating the emotion Verdi was trying to communicate. This recording is one of the purest available. If one was to begin building a library of classical masterpieces, this would surely be an early purchase.