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Verdi: Messa da Requiem / Muti, Chicago

Album Summary

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Requiem Mass
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

"Now that he is no longer at La Scala, he has felt able to accept the music directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; he will take up the post in the autumn of 2010, and the performances of the Verdi Requiem he led this January [2009] inaugurated his position as music director designate. The orchestra and its public must be thanking their lucky stars, and there was certainly no mistaking the ebullience and zest with which Muti is embarking on this new venture. I attended the third of the three concerts, and it was by a wide margin the greatest performance of this masterpiece in my long experience. The orchestra played like gods, and Duain Wolfe's chorus sang like angels... the kind of music-making we were given on this memorable occasion is earnest of a new golden age to come for one of the world's finest orchestras." -MusicWeb-International

Chicago inaugurates Riccardo Muti's tenure as music director with their most anticipated release of the year. Recorded live in January 2009, from sold-out, electrifying concerts, this stunning performance brilliantly captures both the pathos and passion of Verdi's masterpiece.

"The first recording issued by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under its new music director is, in virtually every respect, a glorious achievement... I'm sure many in the packed hall will long remember it as a life-changing experience... The thwacks of the bass drum ricocheted mightily... with the fiery blasts of the brass from the balcony really sounding as if Heaven were beckoning." Chicago Tribune

"Much remains of the potency of [Muti's] classic 1979 recording...The Dies Irae, for instance, retains all his customary bite and fury...Frittoli's substantial soprano charts the emotions of the music along with the notes...Borodina's glamorous mezzo-soprano is employed with consistent insight and depth." -BBC Music Magazine

"This recording suggests that Riccardo Muti’s contract as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is likely to be a huge success. Muti’s conducting produces playing of astonishing clarity of texture and firmness of phrase, as well as high drama." -The Daily Telegraph

"Muti and company do plenty with the rich material here, and succeed in making the Requiem a thoroughly entertaining work as well as a deeply artistic one. Many shades make for a varied performance, one that tackles the work confidently and with vim to spare." -BBC

"[Muti] certainly runs the full gamut of emotions, as does his blazing and immaculately trained chorus, which sounds as if it understands the full import and context of every word of the Latin text, projecting the widest dynamic range and nuance. All-purpose fervour and sanctimonious rhetoric are mercifully off-limits." -International Record Review

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (01/15/2009-01/17/2009).


Not their best
I’m not really a fan of the Chicago Symphony Chorus on a recording. They are much more enjoyable in a live performance. Their diction is not together at the ends of phrases and oh for the love of all things holy, please use a dental [t] in Latin. Perhaps there are just too many singers here to be that precise in diction. Their sound is somewhat darker than my preference. I spent many weeks in grad school singing under their Associate Choral Director and I know her technique to be that of a darker sound. If you prefer that sound to a much brighter one, then this is the recording for you. That darkening of the sound does give character and depth to the rise and fall of the dynamics in this piece. You must have attention to the dynamics in this piece and I believe the chorus has done a stupendous job of this. The soloists are genuinely great performers. The tenor’s technique in the upper register has much to be desired. I was not impressed with his Latin diction. Mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina is the highlight of this recording. Her technique is sound, the diction is precise, and most of all the musicality was there to represent the pull between life and death Verdi so distinctly wrote.
Submitted on 10/19/10 by C Briley 
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Works Details

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Requiem Mass
  • Performers: Ildar Abdrazakov (Bass); Olga Borodina (Mezzo Soprano); Barbara Frittoli (Soprano); Mario Zeffiri (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Riccardo Muti
  • Notes: Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center (01/15/2009-01/17/2009)
  • Running Time: 85 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874