Maazel, Harteros, Barcellona - Verdi: Messa Da Requiem (2015)
EAC Rip | Flac (Tracks + cue + log) | 369 MB | MP3 320Kbps CBR | 253 MB | 2 CDs | Full Scans
Genre: Classical | Label: Sony | Catalog Number: 508330
The last recording of conductor Lorin Maazel. World-famous conductor Lorin Maazel was chief conductor of the Münchner Philharmoniker until shortly before his death in July 2014 at the age of 84. This live recording, which happened in February 2014, is probably the last recording of Maazel. It documents an acclaimed & moving concert in the Munich Philharmonie with Lorin Maazel & the Münchner Philharmoniker & their choir per-forming Verdi's famous requiem. The excellent soloists were Anja Harteros (soprano), Daniela Barcellona (mezzo-soprano), Wookyung Kim (tenor) & Georg Zeppenfeld (bass).
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Wookyung Kim, Daniela Barcellona, Georg Zeppenfeld, Anja Harteros
Conductor: Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Choir
Reviews: "A tribute of respectful affection, the expression of my sorrow." Verdi
Maazel was chief conductor of the Münchner Philharmoniker until shortly before his death in July 2014, aged 84. This disc documents an unforgettable concert at the Philharmonie, Munich & is likely Maazel's final recording.
Occasionally known as the Manzoni Requiem, Verdi's great Messa da Requiem is probably the best known requiem in the repertoire today. Many great conductors have recorded it. I'm thinking of Toscanini in New York in 1951; Victor De Sabata in Milan in 1954 &, surely the best known of all, Carlo Maria Giulini in London in 1964-65. Few works have the power to move an audience to tears as this.
I recall with great affection reporting an inspiring performance of the work in 2013 at during the Dresdner Musikfestspiele at Kreuzkirche, Dresden. It was conducted by Gian&rea Noseda & the touring Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino. Noseda's first-rate quartet was Kristin Lewis, Sonia Ganassi, Francesco Meli & Ildar Abdrazakov.
Verdi conceived his Requiem for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass, mixed chorus & orchestra in 1868 as a tribute to mark Rossini's death in Paris. Verdi suggested that composers of Italy should unite in honour of Rossini & he contributed the closing section - the Libera me, Domine. Unfortunately the collaborative project experienced difficulties & never came to fruition. Some five years later in May 1873 the death of renowned novelist & poet Aless&ro Manzoni provided the stimulus to compose a requiem mass. Inconsolable he was too moved to attend the funeral but travelled to Milan a week later to pay his personal respects. At this time the sixty year old Verdi was at the height of his creative powers haveing recently had his opera Aïda premièred in Cairo with only Otello & Falstaff yet to be composed. On the first anniversary of Manzoni's death the Messa da Requiem was successfully given under Verdi's baton at the San Marco church, Milan. As the work became better known many observers shared Brahms' opinion that "Only a genius could have written such a work." Some commentators were less enamoured feeling that the dramatic music was too operatic & not in keeping with the text, essentially based on the liturgical Roman Catholic Latin Mass for the Dead. Strengthening accusations of insincerity, Hans von Bülow described the score as "An opera in ecclesiastical garb".
Impeccably prepared, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the soloists & the Philharmonischer Chor München perform majestically. This is a tightly secure & strongly characterised account, gloriously bringing out the drama from this magnificent sacred score. Under Maazel's expert direction the core of the work, the magnificent Dies irae, communicates a convincing & thrilling depiction of judgement day. The orchestra displays its dramatic strength & stirring sacred passion in the full-bloodedly vivid climaxes. Initially the bass drum strikes seem underpowered but soon recover, becoming suitably forceful.
Maazel has clearly used his experience to choose four well differentiated & highly effective soloists. All are in excellent voice strikingly gelling as a team. German soprano Anja Harteros a consummate performer impresses here for her warm, clear tone, fluidity, lustrous top register & innate sense of sacred expression. The welcome & soothing mood of the Quid sum miser is imposing. It opens with Harteros's glorious vocal & includes a charming bassoon part. The anguished declamation given to the Libera me is striking, although she is careful not to dominate with her sheer dramatic weight. Harteros confidently accomplishes this dem&ing part which is laden with contrasting emotions. This is spellbinding stuff & Harteros's beautifully shaded singing, makes the hairs st& up on the back of the neck. In quite exceptional form is Wookyung Kim the South Korean tenor with his appealing, remarkably smooth & supple tone. He is captivating in the Ingemisco tamquam reus. No stranger to lofty reverential expression he finds that rarely achieved quality of vulnerability. Interspersed are lovely solos from the oboe principal.
Italian mezzo Daniela Barcellona evinces considerable artistry especially in the Liber scriptus. She is remarkably assured & is notable for her darkly tinged expressive tone & her powerful projection. One of the most notable sections is the beautiful duet between Harteros & Barcellona in the Recordare - a poignant reflection on the passion of Christ with their voices coming together memorably. Unflappable singing by German bass Georg Zeppenfeld projects his dark, rich vocal easily & with potent intensity. He finds compelling menace in the arresting Tuba mirum with the words Mors stupebit et natura & in his solo Confutatis maledictis the secure bass engagingly shifts between the required temperaments of condemnation & compassion. Of special note is the Oro supplex; it's one of the most moving melodies in the work. The Philharmonischer Chor München performs with unquenchable spirit & engaging security.
Not surprisingly there are a number of excellent recordings. My most prized now-classic account is the one conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini a magnificent performance with the Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus & soloists Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda & Nicolai Ghiaurov. Powerful, formidably dramatic & full of sacred awe Giulini recorded the work at the Kingsway Hall, London for EMI Classics. One of the most affecting versions I have heard was recorded live in 2013 by the Chor & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Mariss Jansons with soloists Krassimira Stoyanova, Marina Prudenskaya, Saimir Pirgu & Orlin Anastassov in the Philharmonie, Munich on BR Klassik. In addition I greatly admire the scorching 2009 performance from Antonio Pappano with the Orchestra & Chorus of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, Rome with soloists Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rol&o Villazón & René Pape. In Pappano's account I was struck by the sheer dramatic intensity generated in this recording made at the Auditorium Parco della Musica at Sala Santa Cecilia, Rome by EMI Classics.
Returning to the present live recording made in the ever controversial acoustics of the Philharmonie, Munich the sound team for Sony Classical have excelled. We are confronted with realistic presence, good clarity & a splendid balancing of the large forces. I could hear virtually no extraneous noise & the applause at the conclusion has been taken out. As usual the presentation from this source is impeccable including a helpful concise essay from Wolfgang Stöhr & full Latin texts with translations in German & English. My only passing grumble is that the text has not been linked to track numbers. This new Sony Classics release is awe-inspiring.
01-01 I. Requiem (e Kyrie)- Requiem aeternam.flac
01-02 II. Dies irae- Dies irae.flac
01-03 II. Dies irae- Tuba mirum.flac
01-04 II. Dies irae- Liber scriptus.flac
01-05 II. Dies irae- Quid sum miser.flac
01-06 II. Dies irae- Rex tremendae.flac
01-07 II. Dies irae- Recordare.flac
01-08 II. Dies irae- Ingemisco tamquam.flac
01-09 II. Dies irae- Confutatis maledictis.flac
01-10 II. Dies irae- Lacrimosa.flac