Notes & Reviews:
ICA Classics are offering a fantastic bargain: four choral masterpieces under the baton of some of the greatest conductors of the 20th century: William Steinberg, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Igor Markevitch and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Here we have Beethoven's Missa solemnis, one of the most awe-inspiring and supreme masterworks of the 19th century, conducted with great intensity by William Steinberg returning to Cologne, the city of his birth after his acclaimed years leading the Boston Symphony. The monumental Berlioz Requiem is a sonic showpiece combining grandeur, emotion and theatre. Here it is directed by a conductor known for all these qualities, Dimitri Mitropoulos, whose electricity on the podium is palpable in every facet of this marvelous performance. Igor Markevitch returned to Russia to give a blazing performance of Verdi's Requiem, one of the most popular and frequently performed choral works, starring Galina Vishnevskaya amongst others, and here sung with enormous tone and power by the Russian choirs assembled for the occasion. A rarity but one of Mahler's early masterpieces, Das klagende Lied, here featuring Dame Janet Baker, is given a wonderfully atmospheric and tautly directed performance by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, one the highlights of the 1981 Royal Albert Hall Proms. All this at a bargain price!