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Classic recording of a most imposing and unforgettable Requiem,
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This review is from: Dvorák: Requiem (Audio CD)
Back in the day I had my socks blown off by Sawallisch's Supraphon recording. That's a terrific double-album but the 1959 Ancerl is great too, with a fervour that can only come from an analogue world and also that certain special something which certain classic records of the '50s and '60s contain. At least three of the soloists are extremely distinguished singers of the time - Maria Stader, Ernst Haefliger and the velvety Kim Borg (Barbirolli's bass for The Dream Of Gerontius). Stader and Haefliger were born for such sacred music. Presiding over the grand occasion is the superb Karel Ancerl.
People often point up the influence of Verdi's Requiem upon Dvorak's setting, but I hear plenty of Beethoven in the great waves of sound and all conquering fugues. A Mass for the Dead it may be, but Dvorak's is always a smiling countenance in the face of suffering; having said that, the music in this composition is surprisingly stern and tragic for the great Czech composer, and fans of Suk's Asrael Symphony will definitely want to hear this, the source of the trumpet motif that features so prominently in the second movement of the symphony that was a requiem for Dvorak himself.