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Dvorak: Requiem, Op. 89 (1890) / Christiane Libor, Ewa Wolak, Daniel Kirch, Janusz Monarcha. Warsaw PO & Choir, Wit

Album Summary

>Dvorak, Antonin : Requiem for vocal soloists, chorus & orchestra, B. 165 (Op. 89)
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Paul Dukas (1865-1935) is famed for his brilliant, meticulously scored symphonic scherzo The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, first performed in 1897, which almost immediately entered the international repertoire. It was subsequently the focus of a ballet and later Walt Disney’s film Fantasia. Magical scoring is also a feature of La peri, a poeme danse of great imaginative verve. The delightful, colorful Symphony in C was composed mid-way between these works. For this recording, manuscript sources for the three works were consulted, including the hitherto private proofs of the first edition of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, ensuring rigorously faithful performances. The RTE National Symphony, founded in 1948, is at the forefront of symphonic music in Ireland. Conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud (b. 1969) studied with Manuel Rosenthal, himself a pupil of Ravel. Often engaged for operatic productions, his recordings include Sapho (Wexford), Werther (Martina Franca), La voix humaine (Compiegne), and Le siege de Corinthe (Bad Wildbad).

MusicWeb International, February 2015
The string playing is marvellous and the woodwind, so important in this work, are refined and ethereal. The choir also holds its own against the Czechs - you only need to listen to the Introitus to be convinced.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2015
The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir are in fine collective voice...The quartet of soloists are magnificent...Orchestrally, this is a stunning performance. Perfectly blended woodwind are clearly focused on a wide-spread bed of strings. The recording is vividly engineered and everyone involved is on top form. A bargain.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (05/29/2012-06/05/2012).


Dvorak's Requiem - an unjustly neglected work
Dvorak visited England in 1884 and 1885 to conduct his Stabat Mater. It was so successful that he was eventually commissioned to compose a Requiem. He wrote it between January and October of 1890 while he was touring Russia, England, and Germany, and it premiered in Birmingham in 1891. Its success was understandably immediate, for it is a magnificent work that deserves to be performed much more often that it is. Most music critics agree that this Requiem is one of the most powerful settings of the Mass for the Dead. This glorious composition, crafted for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, chorus and orchestra, is so full of delightful melodies that one marvels at the sheer inventiveness of each section. The only possible hurdle to more frequent concert performances seems to be its length; a typical performance time is around 98 minutes, which inevitably challenges soloists, choir, and orchestra members.
Earlier recordings still available include a Decca/London 2-CD set conducted by Istvan Kertesz (Requiem plus Mass in D), a DGG 2-CD set conducted by Karel Ancerl (Requiem plus six of the 10 Biblical Songs, Op. 99), and a 1985 Supraphon 2-CD set conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch. There are also at least two video versions on the Internet (as of this review), but in my opinion none of them measures up to this new version from Naxos. The power and the impetus of this performance is immediately evident in the "Domine Jesu Christe" section of the Offertorium (disc 2, track 1), and all the other sections are also performed with great attention to detail. The recorded sound is first class, and Keith Anderson's program notes are highly informative.
Strongly recommended!
Ted Wilks
Submitted on 12/06/14 by Ted Wilks 
Very good performance of Dvorak’s Requiem
This 2 CD set contains the complete performance of Dvorak’s Requiem by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Antoni Wit. The four soloists are Christiane Libor (soprano – she is *excellent*), Ewa Wolak (alto – what a marvelous warm voice she possesses), Daniel Kirch (tenor, and just rock-solid), and Janusz Monarha (bass – what a beautiful and strong voice this man possessses).

The work starts with a strong dark choral presence, with deep notes in the bass, moving into what is mostly solo soprano and strings for the “Gradual” movement. Timpani and dark choral motives return for the Dies Irae, and it is clear at this point that the orchestra and chorus are going to give us their best. The low bassoon notes in the “Tuba mirum” are of similar excellent quality and are obviously given with strength and sense of purpose. Yes, these folks came to play – and the music and effort are sustained throughout the entirety of the work on CD #2 as well. While the Dvorak is not the fire and brimstone style of work as is the Verdi Requiem, it is powerful and fulfilling, requiring a great deal of effort from the orchestra, chorus, and soloists from start to finish. And this group delivers.

This is a fine offering from the folks at Naxos – a powerful orchestra and choir, and musicians that are obviously committed to giving the best performance that they can. This is a worthy addition to my music library, and one of the strongest performances of this work that I have in my possession. Highly recommended.

Submitted on 02/24/15 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Requiem for vocal soloists, chorus & orchestra, B. 165 (Op. 89)
  • Performers: Janusz Monarcha (Bass); Christiane Libor; Daniel Kirch (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (05/29/2012-06/05/2012)
  • Running Time: 95 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Choral