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Merit - Verdi: Requiem / Toscanini, Milanov, Castagna, Et Al


Release Date: 01/19/1999 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 4240   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Zinka MilanovBruna CastagnaJussi BjörlingNicola Moscona
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster ChoirNBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Transferred from what collectors like to call "inside" sources, Music and Arts' previous edition of Toscanini's November 23, 1940 Verdi Requiem has long been the best sounding CD release of these justly famous performances. Music and Arts now reissues this set in a new transfer by Graham Newton. In essence, Newton removes all the clicks and pops inherent in the original lacquer discs. The results make it easier to concentrate during the ravishingly shaded and sustained soft passages, but I do notice occasional "pumping" sounds that are absent in the earlier, slightly noisier transfer. Frankly, it really doesn't matter which one you own, just as long as you get to experience Toscanini giving every ounce of his dramatic Read more know-how, seasoned musicianship, and poetic flexibility in the service of one of his most cherished repertoire staples. Tempos are slower than in the Maestro's 1951 commercial recording (indeed, slower than Verdi's metronome markings), with warmer, more massive string textures and generally cleaner, mellower, and less harried choral singing.


In his superb booklet notes, Toscanini biographer Harvey Sachs discusses the performance's salient virtues while accurately pinpointing the occasional mishap. Such bobbles hardly matter when you hear Jussi Björling's full yet conversational, effortless Ingemisco (superior to his singing 20 years later in Fritz Reiner's commercial recording) or Zinka Milanov proclaim the Libera me's opening, recitative-like phrases with such presence and authority. Although the NBC brass section markedly improved between the performance of Verdi's Te Deum that opened this concert and the better-known 1954 commercial recording, I prefer the earlier reading's added breadth and dynamic range. No Verdi lover or Toscanini buff should go through life without hearing this very special Requiem.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Zinka Milanov (Soprano), Bruna Castagna (Mezzo Soprano), Jussi Björling (Tenor),
Nicola Moscona (Bass)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/23/1940 
Language: Latin 
2. Quattro pezzi sacri: Te Deum by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Zinka Milanov (Soprano), Bruna Castagna (Mezzo Soprano), Jussi Björling (Tenor),
Nicola Moscona (Bass)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/23/1940 
Language: Latin 

Sound Samples

Messa da Requiem: Requiem and Kyrie
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae
Messa da Requiem: Offertorio: Domine Jesu
Messa da Requiem: Sanctus
Messa da Requiem: Agnus Dei
Messa da Requiem: Lux aeterna
Messa da Requiem: Libera me
Te Deum

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