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on 5 April 2003
I bought this CD on the basis of the review by my friend Stephen Jesse Taylor's review and agree with him about the Requiem, and the performance. I was simply stunned by the power of this piece.
Cherubini who, although Italian, spent most of his adult life in France, introduced the Mozart Requiem to Paris in 1805, and obviously he knew that masterwork thoroughly. And although his style is not really very similar to Mozart's one can hear traces of the older work in such things as the Agnus dei.
One interesting, and odd, thing about Cherubini's Requiem is that, unlike most other Requiems, it calls for no soloists. And another stylistic matter: Cherubini is so eager to tell the story that he doesn't linger on endless repetitions of the familiar words. For instance, the Dies irae, which is not broken up into separate pieces as it is in other settings, goes like the wind. Mood painting is skillful, underlining the narrative.
I disagree with one thing in Taylor's review. He dismissed the Marche funèbre, but I found it quite stirring; obviously it is a ceremonial piece and has more than a little pomp, but that was the style of the time. Indeed, one can hear stylistic fingerprints that later show up in the works of composers like Berlioz and Meyebeer.
The performances, by Swiss Radio forces, are sterling.
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