A straightforward, adequate Requiem, ditto the Symphonie fan
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a bargain twofer this EMI release of Previn's early Berlioz Requiem is worth considering. As you'd expect, the English chorus is veyr good, and they are placed so that we can hear the text fairly clearly. But the recording gets congested in loud climaxes, and the acoustic space is gigantic--like the ferbent Bernstein reading on Sony, the attempt is to recapture the ambience of the premiere in Paris at the Invalides. If you are after vastness, the Bernstein is a better reading, and considering that the Robert Shaw version on Telarc is just as well performed and has spectacular sound, Previn seems like a standby. As does his interpretation, which is musically solid but short on atmosphere. Too often I got the feeling that his jack-of-all-trades conductor has no special affinity with Berlioz. The dragging tempo of the Sanctus puts a strain on Robert Tear's tenor solo, and his voice sunds insecure and a little gargly.
The accompanying Symphonie fantastique (better played by the LSO than the Requiem is by the London Phil.) is another musically solid performance with no great distinction in terms of atmosphere or special feeling for the piece. In all, I can't imagine anyone needing to save money so badly that a better mid-price recording couldn't be found."