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Verdi, Schubert: Masses, Etc / Carlo Maria Giulini, Et Al

Release Date: 06/27/2000 
Label:  Bbc Legends   Catalog #: 4029   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiFranz Schubert
Performer:  Anna ReynoldsDavid WardAmy ShuardRichard Lewis,   ... 
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraPhilharmonia ChorusNew Philharmonia Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 33 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the early 1960s, Carlo Maria Giulini's interpretation of Verdi's Requiem was one of the musical world's great "happenings". His vision of the piece perfectly balanced its devotional elements with an absolutely hair-raising, dramatic approach to the work's more violent, extroverted sections (the Dies irae, Tuba miram, Sanctus, and Libera me). Later in his career, his performances of the Requiem became slow and dull, as with just about everything else, but for a time at least he was simply incomparable. EMI captured Giulini's interpretation in the studio at the same time as this live performance, in vivid but variable recorded sound that suffers from tape saturation at the climaxes, and
Read more that places the chorus too far behind the orchestra.

The question with a historical release of a live performance such as this one is simple: does it offer anything more than we already have? In this case, the answer is definitely "yes" in at least two respects. First, if you turn up the volume to get everything into perspective, the sound is actually more natural than the studio version: clean, clear, and undistorted, remarkable really, given its source. Second, the balance restores the chorus to its rightful place: and my god, how they sing! Every word is clear, fervent, and dramatically shaded. Their front-and-center participation adds an entirely new dimension to Giulini's view of the work, and he does indeed find an extra measure of intensity in the Sanctus and Libera me, spectacular as they already were on EMI. His soloists are also fully the equals of their studio counterparts, with Amy Shuard easily outclassing an over-parted Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. If you have any doubts, start with the Libera me; if that doesn't have your hair standing on end, then you literally may be more in need of a Requiem than you knew.

Finally, as a considerable bonus, BBC Legends includes a big, fat, grand performance of Schubert's Mass in E-flat, another Giulini specialty--slow in tempo but never dull, and so lovingly sung and played. The package opens with a terrific, curtain-raising romp through Verdi's overture to I vespri siciliani. This set constitutes one of the most important and attractive issues from the BBC thus far. Tremendous!

--David Hurwitz
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Works on This Recording

Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Anna Reynolds (Mezzo Soprano), David Ward (Bass), Amy Shuard (Soprano),
Richard Lewis (Tenor)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/05/1963 
Venue:  Live  Royal Albert Hall, London England 
Length: 86 Minutes 52 Secs. 
I vespri siciliani: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/07/1963 
Venue:  Live  Royal Albert Hall, London England 
Length: 8 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Mass no 6 in E flat major, D 950 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Anne Pashley (Soprano), Duncan Robertson (Tenor), David Hughes (Tenor)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Scottish Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/31/1968 
Venue:  Live  Usher Hall, Edinburgh Festival, Scotland 
Length: 56 Minutes 33 Secs. 

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