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Verdi: Requiem; Rossini: Stabat Mater / Fricsay, RIAS SO

Release Date: 01/14/2011 
Label:  Dg Double Catalog #: 439684   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGioachino Rossini
Performer:  Oralia DominguezGabor CarelliIvan SardiMaria Stader,   ... 
Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber ChorusBerlin RIAS Symphony OrchestraSt. Hedwig's Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 30 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

An interpretation of tragic force and lyrical beauty.

When I first received this set I imagined it was a reissue of Fricsay's DG account made in the early 1950s (nla), perfectly respectable and extremely accurate, but in fact this one, issued to mark the 75th anniversary of Fricsay's birth, dates from late 1960 when the conductor was already suffering from the disease that killed him. It was to prove to be his final performance of the piece. I don't think it's fanciful to feel in this intensely dramatic and immediate reading that the conductor fully realized his own mortality. At any rate it's an interpretation of tragic force and lyrical beauty that eclipses most of its rivals. Fricsay was here working with a choir
Read more and orchestra entirely devoted to him and, as in the Shaw performance on Telarc/Conifer such familiarity pays huge dividends in terms of unified thought. Then, the circumstances of a live occasion seem to infect everyone concerned with a feeling of urgency.

Fricsay's tempos, though sometimes on the deliberate side (the opening Kyrie and the "Recordare" for instance), are well-judged and properly adjusted one to another, and he moulds the whole work with an enviable command of line. The discipline of both singing and playing are quite remarkable, and the tone of both sectors is as warm and deeply eloquent as on any other performance of the thirty or so I know. Indeed, Verdi would surely have been delighted at the keenness and singing line produced by the strings throughout. The balance between the sections of the orchestra and between the choir and orchestra is also ideal on this excellent mono recording.

The solo performances, forwardly recorded, are impressive. Oralia Dominguez sings with strength of voice and inner conviction, with a subtle use of rubato and dynamic variation. Gabor Carelli, Toscanini's Dr Caius and a Gigli pupil, is a tenor of great sensitivity. His account of both the "Ingemisco" and "Hostias" are Gigli-like in their sweetness of accent and freedom of style. He and the bass Ivan Sardi are Hungarian by birth like their conductor, but both sound convincingly Italianate. Sardi's tone is firm and vibrant, and his line in "Oro supplex" exemplary. Stader, who appeared in Fricsay's earlier version, was also Hungarian born but brought up and trained in Switzerland. Her voice, like Schwarzkopf's on the Giulini set (EMI) was not made by nature for this music, and she often seems under some stress, but her conviction cannot be denied. I was worried only by one or two moments of flatness.

You won't find a more beseeching, broadly phrased account in the catalogue; those of the Requiem by Muti (EMI) and Abbado (DG) don't evince the same inevitability of utterance and Karajan (also DG) sounds dull beside Fricsay. The Shaw version is of course superior in terms of sound alone, but his performance, appealing as it is, wants the sheer urgency of this one, inspired by a very great conductor. Its only peer is the Giulini, and the choral recording there, though in stereo, hasn't the breadth of that on the Fricsay. Hear this set if you can-and you will surely be persuaded of its merits.

-- Gramophone [11/1989]
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Works on This Recording

Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Oralia Dominguez (Mezzo Soprano), Gabor Carelli (Tenor), Ivan Sardi (Bass),
Maria Stader (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/23/1960 
Venue:  Live  Berlin 
Language: Latin 
Stabat mater by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Maria Stader (Soprano), Marianna Radev (Alto), Ernst Haefliger (Tenor),
Kim Borg (Bass)
Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Hedwig's Cathedral Choir,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832/1842; Italy 
Language: Latin 

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