Sir Colin Davis conductor
‘One of the finest recording the piece has ever received’ Opera News
Aside from his operas, Verdi is best known for his extraordinary Requiem, written in memory of the Italian writer and nationalist Alessandro Manzoni. The dramatic power of the famous Dies irae and the sublime lyricism of the work’s solo passages have led many to describe it as more of an opera than a formal Requiem Mass.
- Verdi Requiem (pdf, 2544kB)
'Each of the incisively characterised sections flows naturally out of each other – the slabs of brass in a speaker-bursting 'Tuba mirum' yielding to the nihilistic doubt of 'Mors stupebit' is superbly achieved – and the sheer grief of the 'Lacrymosa' is fantastically well expressed ...
This is one of the most driven things I’ve heard Davis do – penetrating, on-the-edge conducting that digs deep into the music’s astounding emotional range, and he is rewarded with similarly engaged, idiomatic playing. Try the clear articulation of chaos at the opening of the 'Dies irae'; or listen to the bassoon obbligato in 'Quid sum miser', which has never sounded so bleak ...
The four soloists are equally impressive. Christine Brewer, singing with heroic splendour, takes no hostages with the various gifts Verdi presents to her, superlative as she soars into the ether in the 'Lacrymosa', and at her commanding, dramatic best in the concluding 'Libera me'. Karen Cargill (who replaced Larissa Diadkova), a light, athletic mezzo who blends very satisfyingly in the ensemble passages, is very distinguished throughout the 'Dies irae', and hair-raisingly good in 'Liber scriptus' and 'Lacrymosa'. The men are more obviously Italianate and operatic: tenor Stuart Neill never looks back from a stunning first entry in the 'Kyrie'; and bass John Relyea has the authority of the Inquisitor and the darkness of Iago. The two tenor-and-bass arias in the 'Ingemisco' are superb.'
‘listen to the fire he generates, the wisdom, the precision and his grasp of the music’s narrative ... Davis located Verdi’s heart right from the first bars. Whether sighing or seething, Joseph Cullen’s massed troops were on exemplary form; I’ve not yet recovered from their full-throated onslaughts in the Dies Irae, delivered with cutting consonants and the heat of hellfire. What of the soloists? Here too we were blessed. Throughout, Davis shaped Verdi’s tumult and song with the master’s touch’
The Times (UK)
‘The greatest interpretations are often those where you are most conscious of the music and least aware of the conductor’s will imposed on it.
Such was the case with this remarkable performance … allowing us to experience to the full the nightmarish quality of Verdi’s evocation of the Dies Irae, his deep compassion for the suffering, the flippant glory of the Sanctus, and the dreadful uncertainty with which the work closes’
The Guardian (UK)
‘When you are an octogenarian the prospect of another Requiem Mass might be regarded with some degree of circumspection. Unless, of course, you are Sir Colin Davis … Davis is still such a vigorous force for good in music: his clarity of purpose, his keen sense of weighting and rhythm (no one anchors music like he does), and his fervent love of great public utterances, make him the perfect candidate for big choral masterpieces ... Quite marvellous’
The Independent (UK)
James Mallinson producer
Jonathan Stokes and Neil Hutchinson for Classic Sound Ltd balance engineers
Recorded January 2009, Barbican, London
DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording
Notes and synopsis in English/en français/auf Deutsch
Includes complete text in Latin and English
Catalogue number - LSO0683
UPC - 822231168324