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Giulini- Verdi: Requiem, Etc / Giulini, Bumbry, Kónya, Et Al


Release Date: 06/29/2004 
Label:  Bbc Legends   Catalog #: 4144   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ilva LigabueSándor KónyaRaphäel AriéGrace Bumbry
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraPhilharmonia Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 42 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The finest of the available Giulini Verdi Requiems, with the best balanced of his solo quartets…Giulini manages a more appropriate balance between the work's dramatic and devotional aspects, and his more sharply etched rhythms lend more life to slower passages… this 1964 version has a vitality that trumps both the EMI and the 1963 BBC.

Of the four available versions of Giulini's Verdi Requiem, a DG 1990 Berlin set can be ignored since it's throttled by the torpor that infected his late recordings. The conductor's 1964 studio version for EMI has never been out of the catalogue and generally is considered the one against which all others are to be measured, a view I've never shared because Giulini is too reverential and
Read more the soloists are wanting (Elizabeth Schwarzkopf too arch, Christa Ludwig and Nicolai Gedda better but not Italianate in timbre). BBC's 1963 Albert Hall version improves on it, having a freshness absent from the studio account, and the coupling, an excellent Schubert E-flat Mass, adds to its desirability. But the four English soloists, fine as they are, also lack the Italianate timbre I find essential in the work, and soprano Amy Shuard's pitch problems detract slightly from her emotionally apt singing.


This new arrival, an April 1964 Royal Festival Hall concert, recorded within months of EMI's studio set and the earlier BBC production, features the same superb orchestra and chorus but different soloists. It also banishes thoughts of redundancy because it's the finest of the available Giulini Verdi Requiems, with the best balanced of his solo quartets and more robust conducting. Virtually every section of the work is swifter than his other versions, most often by just a few seconds, but by significant amounts in the Lacrymosa and Lux aeterna. It's not just tempo; Giulini manages a more appropriate balance between the work's dramatic and devotional aspects, and his more sharply etched rhythms lend more life to slower passages. So this 1964 version has a vitality that trumps both the EMI and the 1963 BBC.


The singers also are a better fit for the work. Soprano Ilva Ligabue sings with fire and can be quite moving despite a sometimes uningratiating voice. Grace Bumbry and Sandor Konya are the finest of Giulini's mezzo and tenor soloists. Both have the right timbral qualities and sing with understanding. While Konya, thought of as a belter in his day, does manage some nice soft singing, his lack of a trill detracts from the Hostias. EMI's Ghiaurov is the best of the three basses, but Raffaele Arié's resonant instrument runs him close.


The sound is in mono (odd, since the 1963 Albert Hall concert was released in stereo), but that shouldn't faze anyone, for the BBC engineers produced vivid, detailed sound that fills the space between the speakers, gives the illusion of stage depth, and is as dynamic as anyone could want. In fact, I found it more realistic than either the botched studio EMI or the 1963 BBC. The Requiem is preceded by a 1961 La forza del destino Overture bristling with power, and there's a short interview snippet to fill out the second disc. The booklet reproduces the original program of the concert, with pictures, Andrew Porter's notes, and ads, including one by EMI announcing "A Stupendous New Recording, Giulini's Verdi Requiem", now rendered significantly less "stupendous" by this BBC recording of the concert.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
La forza del destino: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1961 
2.
Requiem Mass: Kyrie by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ilva Ligabue (Soprano), Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Raphäel Arié (Bass),
Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
3.
Requiem Mass: Dies irae by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Raphäel Arié (Bass), Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano),
Ilva Ligabue (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
4.
Requiem Mass: Offertorio by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Raphäel Arié (Bass), Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano),
Ilva Ligabue (Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
5.
Requiem Mass: Sanctus by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Raphäel Arié (Bass), Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano), Ilva Ligabue (Soprano),
Sándor Kónya (Tenor)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
6.
Requiem Mass: Agnus Dei by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano), Ilva Ligabue (Soprano),
Raphäel Arié (Bass)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
7.
Requiem Mass: Lux aeterna by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ilva Ligabue (Soprano), Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Raphäel Arié (Bass),
Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 
8.
Requiem Mass: Libera me, Domine by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Raphäel Arié (Bass), Sándor Kónya (Tenor), Ilva Ligabue (Soprano),
Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/1964 
Language: Latin 

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