Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Hickox, Markella Hatziano|
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Better than you'd expect
Michael K. Halloran | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When a contingent of mostly British forces performs the red-blooded Italian Verdi Requiem, most listeners would expect results to be a little . . . well, staid. Fortunately, that is not the case here.When this recording was first released, it was announced as the first complete digital recording on one disc (almost all other recordings require two discs). This made me a little suspicious, as indeed do all marketing ploys. What matters is the performance, and what we have here is a good one. Richard Hickox has several other excellent recordings of masses and oratorios to his credit, and this one is no exception. He shapes and moulds the line with an almost unerring rightness and slights neither the passion nor the piety within this score. Despite the fact that the piece is on a single disc, none of the speeds feels rushed.For his soloists, Hickox has chosen a team of mostly unknowns, with the exception of Robert Lloyd, whose tone has grown woolly over the years. However, Lloyd sings with conviction and strength, as do the tenor and mezzo, Gabriel Sade and Markella Hatziano. Best of all is the soprano, Michele Crider. She has gotten some bad reviews for the few recordings she has made (this one, Amelia in "Ballo" and Margherita in "Mefistofele") but I simply cannot understand why. The voice is full and warm, with a stong lower range and a gleaming top. However, for this work the soprano also needs plenty of pianissimo on high. Happily, Crider can deliver the goods here as well, with notes that hang delicately suspended in the air with an almost supernatural beauty. She is less dramatically involved here than she was in her "Ballo" recording, but then again this is not an opera. She hasn't recorded anything for a few years now -- I certainly hope we haven't heard the last of her.Chorus and orchestra are both fine -- the choir is not on the same level as Robert Shaw's in this work, but then whose is? The one small snag is that the recorded sound can tend to overbrightness, with an occasional edge on the violins. However, this is a very minor quibble. If you have room in your collection for another Verdi Requiem, or if you are coming to this work for the first time, this recording is enthusiastically recommended."
An Amazing Reading!
kelsie | Plainview, Texas United States | 05/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hickox, whose premier of Tavener's 'Fall and Resurrection' was nothing less than impressive, brings a much needed dramatic intensity to this work. Like Gergiev, his tempi are swift, and the dramatic intensity of his 'Dies Irae' is almost overwhelming. This disc is a double bargain because of the fact that it packs the Requiem onto one cd, instead of the usual two. I approached this cautiously at first, scanning the disc packaging to ensure that this wasn't some kind of cut score or edited version. However, after listening to the disc through twice (once with the score in hand), I can say that this is the real deal: the complete Verdi Requiem in an extremely dramatic and compelling performance, on a single disc! I do not own the Robert Shaw version, however, after hearing it twice on disc, I feel that Hickox's recording brings more of the operatic, theatrical gesture Verdi originally intended, than the Shaw reading. Gergiev's recording is comparable, and if you own that one (and more importantly, if you ENJOYED it), then the Hickox reading is for you. His tempi are exceedingly swift (as in the 'Tuba Mirum'), but it only serves to reinforce the central theme of the work: the Last Judgment. Highly Recommended!"
kelsie | 05/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are precious few "good" recordings if the Verdi Requiem. I've often thought the only way to get a good one was to piece together the individual sections from different recordings. While the Robert Shaw recording of the requiem is by far the gold standard, it lacks the unabashed fury that this requiem calls for. This recording has that furious passion lacking in all other recordings. You'll never want to listen to another Dies Irae after this one!"