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Verdi: Messa Di Requiem / Tullio Serafin


Release Date: 11/10/1998 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 2140   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Eugenio FernandiBoris ChristoffShakeh VartenissianFiorenza Cossotto,   ... 
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House OrchestraRome Opera House ChorusPhilharmonia Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This Requiem has long been overshadowed by Serafin's 1939 recording with Gigli and Pinza; hearing this 1959 set after many years, it stands up beautifully and can be highly recommended. The hushed opening mesmerizes and the "Dies irae" and big fugue in the "Libera me" could knock you out of your seat; Serafin's credentials as a Verdian are never in doubt. Despite fleet tempos (within three minutes of Toscanini's 1940 reading), this is a Requiem of the "pious" rather than "theatrical" variety, with much inward singing and all of Verdi's softer markings scrupulously observed. Even the powerhouse Fiorenza Cossotto, here at the start of her career, sings softly and gently when called for.
Read more /> The soloists are all impressive. Shakeh Vartenissian, of whom I've heard nothing else, has a big, exciting, absolutely accurate soprano, capable of riding the huge climaxes and handling the long breaths and the soft singing. She might not turn the "Libera me" into the great dramatic scene it sometimes can be, but she's excellent in every other way. Tenor Eugenio Fernandi, whom collectors know as the Calaf on Callas' Turandot recording, sings handsomely here, and even occasionally sounds like Björling (only occasionally). He infuses the text with meaning and reins in his voice for the introspective moments. Boris Christoff, who sounds and behaves like no other bass on earth, is just that--unique. Some listeners object to his extroverted style; I find him riveting. The chorus sounds steeped in the Verdi style, singing with passion, plenty of exciting vibrato, and fine pitch. The sound is excellent early stereo.

Included on the second generously-filled CD are the overtures to Vespri and Giovanna d'Arco, both of which receive thrilling readings, and choruses from five other Verdi operas. If you like this sort of thing, these are excellent examples, though the recordings are in mono and sound somewhat boxy. A fine set!

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Eugenio Fernandi (Tenor), Boris Christoff (Bass), Shakeh Vartenissian (Soprano),
Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
2.
I vespri siciliani: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
3.
Giovanna d'Arco: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Italy 
4.
Nabucco: Va, pensiero by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
5.
I lombardi: Gerusalem! by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
6.
I lombardi: O Signore, dal tetto natio by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
7.
Ernani: Noi fratelli in tal momento by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
8.
Il trovatore: Vedi! le fosche notturne "Anvil Chorus" by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
9.
Il trovatore: Squilli, echeggi "Soldier's Chorus" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Giuseppe Modesti (Bass)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Or co' dadi..." 
10.
Otello: Fuoco di gioia by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 

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