Georg Solti / Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Verdi: Requiem [1977 Recording]

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RCA has re-packaged (again) this Grammy-winning 1977 recording of Verdi's Requiem by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony & Chorus. Under Solti it is as dramatic and stirring as any of Verdi's operas. As exciting as it is, Solti and the soloists still present a respect and understanding of the text as well, never quite overdoing the theatrics. The beginning of the Dies Irae is a frightening picture of Judgment Day. The quartet in the Offertorio, while full of emotion, is still in many ways a prayer. The chorus and orchestra in the Sanctus create a shining fanfare. In the Libera Me, Price puts as much character into her solo, almost begging for salvation, as she would into the role of Aida. Despite the fact that the soloists were all opera stars in their own right, they fit well together, not only in terms of vocal timbre, but also as an ensemble, able to work together for the sake of the music. There are certainly more reverent performances of Verdi's Requiem (although Verdi never meant the work to be used liturgically), and opera fans would probably find fault with the choice of Janet Baker for this work, but in terms of presenting an exciting and vivid performance, this is one of the best.

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