Roger W. Wood | Jacksonville, Florida | 03/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why are there four different recordings of Verdi's Missa da Requiem by Carlo Maria Giulini currently listed through Amazon.com? (I counted them. Four!) They are not there because the work is, as we know, well loved. Rather, there has never been a Verdi master in my time so skilled at presenting the Missa at once as the beautiful, powerful, and spiritual communication it is. Giulini dominated many interpretations of Verdi's music during the last half of the 20th century as few could. He was respected for his artistry, the balance between feeling and power in presenting Verdi's music, and because he knew the difference between speed and musical velocity.
Enough praise for the Great One! However, personally I miss him so much. The beauty he brought from everything he touched was a constant sunrise, and he never called attention to himself. He was a baton poet.
This Requiem from Berlin is different from all the others I have heard by Giulini (I have three of his.). It is more beautiful, the sound is better, the soloists (duets, quartets too) sing rapturously, the choir is very good, and the orchestra is so very great. With such masterful direction and this great orchestra's playing, it makes me sorry to say "Ich bin nicht ein Berliner!" I have loved the way the BPO played for Giulini in Mahler's Das Lied, Beethoven's 9th, and now the Verdi Missa da Requiem.
This performance is the recorded swan song for the Missa da Requiem of one of the most luminous Verdi masters to ever touch the ground. Listen to it and you will soar. Get it as fast as you can.
Personally I am always torn between Brahm's German Requiem and Verdi's Missa for my favorite piece of music. Although I love many great compositions, right now my favorite between the two mentioned is Giulini's great performance of Verdi's Missa da Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ernst Senff Choir and many great soloists. It is very rich and, and at my age of 68, I think I shall not hear too many performances more beautiful than this one. Ah, but after having heard it, I say to myself, "This one is enough."
Carlo Maria Giulini Delivers the Perfect Verdi Requiem
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all the fine performances of the Verdi 'Manzoni Requiem' this 1989 recording with Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, the Ernst-Senff-Chorus and the perfect quartet of American soloists - Sharon Sweet, soprano, Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano, Vinson Cole, tenor, and Simon Estes, bass - is for this listener the finest. Few conductors can match the sense of hallowed greatness of this work that many feel is Verdi's greatest 'opera'. In this performance he captures all the drama, the terror of the final day of judgment, the antiphonal brass effects that come through well in this superb sonic display, and at the same time he is able to offer the most tender moments of the work with a hushed reverence that calls for a unified approach from all of his resources.
To say that the Berlin Philharmonic plays well for him is too obvious; that the chorus rises to the broad spectrum of dynamics with complete commitment is likewise not surprising. What is a revelation here is the manner in which Giulini worked with each of the soloists to mold his uncanny interpretation. Sharon Sweet has the power for the declamatory passages as well as the gentle pianissimos of her exposed solos. Florence Quivar's voice seems to have no breaks at all between the high and low ranges of her demanding role; her voice is pure gold. Vinson Cole may seem an odd choice for a Verdi work, but here he makes the tenor solos and participation in the quartet clarion clear with a voice that never feels strained or less than beautiful. Simon Estes is a true bass who is able to utter the haunting 'Mors stupebit' in a manner that makes all other basses seem superficial in their delivery.
The recorded sound is rich and immediate; perhaps choosing to record the work in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin adds to the sonic splendor that makes the Requiem seem even more credible a work. This is a recording that deserves all prizes it has won and should be part of the library of every music lover. It is definitive! Grady Harp, November 09"
A Meaningful Verdi Requiem
W. N. Hay | Princeton, NJ United States | 11/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carlo Maria Giulini was a gentle and spiritual man by reputation. This recording of the Verdi Requiem wih the Berlin Phil from 1989 represents Giulini's devotion to what some call Verdi's best opera, "The Verdi Requiem." In addition to his passionate conducting Giulini has the Berlin Philharmonic, an orchestra that played well for him on several occasions, a first rate chorus and Sharon Sweet, Florence Quivar, Vinson Cole and Simon Estes as solists. Verdi challenges his performers in this work. Especially the soloists, most of all the soprano soloist. The soloists really do a wonderful job here. My most questionable choice on this recording was that of Vinson Cole as the tenor soloist. Having heard him in an art song recital and being very moved, I thought he would be too light for a Verdi's Requiem. I usually think of Jose Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, Carlo Bergonzi, Placido Domingo or Jussi Bjoerling as ideal for the tenor solo in this work. Vinson Cole has a lighter timbre then those singers, but you forget that when you listen to his musicality. He brings a beautiful cupo color to his singing several time in this performance. In the "Ingemisco" he handles both high b flats with ease. Simon Estes does a fine job as the bass soloist, including a beautiful pianissimo on the word "benedictis" in the bass solo "Confutatis." Florence Quivar sings very beautifully in the "Liber Scriptus" that Verdi sets so skillfully. The soloist who is challenged the most in this work is the soprano. The "Libera me" puts the ball in the sopranos court because it is her, chorus and orchestra. Sharon Sweet, a dramatic soprano does more than live up to the challenge. She sings beautifully and sells this section at the same time. Giulini's coachings with the soloists really paid off because of his sense of colors and word stress. He asks the soloists to sing soft in sections that are often sung forte to great effect. I was very moved by every aspect of this recording. I bought it expecting to love Giulini and the orchestra and have mixed feelings about the soloists and chorus. Luckily the performance proved me wrong."
Scriabinmahler | UK | 07/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of Verdi's Requiem is simply sublime. Giulini gets just right balance between dramatic expression and religious reverence. Singers are all superb and free from operatic exaggeration which mars so many other recordings. Berlin P and the choir creates truly awe-inspiring atmosphere. Most beautifully recorded with wonderful acoustics in Jesus-Christus Kirche.
Sharon Sweet - soprano Florence Quivar - mezzosoprano Vinson Cole - tenore Simon Estes - bass Ernst-Senff-Chor / Berlin PO