Christian Thielemann / Krassimira Stoyanova / Charles Castronovo / Dresden State Opera Chorus / Marina Prudenskaya / Staatskapelle Dresden / Georg Zeppenfeld

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem

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You hesitate to assign national characteristics to musical performances. After all, Arturo Toscanini was noted as both a Wagnerian and a Brahmsian. Yet, this big reading of Verdi's Requiem by Christian Thielemann, leading the Staatskapelle Dresden and Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden arguably qualifies as Germanic. It doesn't conform to von Bülow's dictum that the Requiem was merely an opera in sacred garb. If anything, Thielemann makes a German symphony out of it, with all its elements in balance. You can find more purely Verdian readings, but there is much to recommend in this live recording, made during an annual commemoration of the destruction of Dresden in 1945, at which Verdi's, and other requiem masses are performed. The lack of applause at the end was not accomplished through engineering, but is traditional. Start with the particular strengths of the Staatskapelle Dresden, whose brass section, especially since the ascent of Thielemann to the podium, is perhaps the best in Europe. Sample the famed Dies irae, and hear how its sweeping power comes from the way Thielemann is able to shape what the brass are doing. The flipside are the solo movements, ably handled here by a set of vocalists who remain under Thielemann's control. Profil's engineers contribute greatly: they are willing to tolerate a slight loss of clarity to bring you into the midst of this uniquely muscular reading of this work, and the overall effect is powerful indeed. Not the last word on the Verdi Requiem, but certainly a reading that demands to be heard.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Messa da Requiem für Soli, Chor und Orchester
1 08:11
2 02:23
3 03:16
4 04:53
5 03:23
6 03:29
7 03:39
8 03:31
9 05:11
10 05:40
blue highlight denotes track pick