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Verdi: Requiem; Rossini: Overtures / Igor Markevitch

Release Date: 05/29/2012 
Label:  Ica Classics   Catalog #: 5068   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGioachino Rossini
Performer:  Ivan PetrovNina IsakovaVladimir IvanovskyGalina Vishnevskaya
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic OrchestraRussian State Academy ChorusFrench National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is clear from the String Quartet and three of the Four Sacred Pieces that Verdi was perfectly capable of producing a work which avoided more obviously theatrical dramatic effects. He was however driven in most of his music by drama and by words. The words of the Latin Requiem Mass may lack an obvious plot but the pictures and scenes that they evoke could hardly fail to result in a work that is so often referred to as his best opera. The truth of that view has seldom been made so clear as when listening to this extraordinary recording. David Patmore’s notes explain that due to its religious character the Requiem was by no means in the normal repertoire in Russia in 1960. I assume however that all of those involved were thoroughly Read more conversant with the composer’s operatic style. They certainly proceeded to perform it in a wholly unashamed untrammelled way. There is a real feeling that they are discovering a great masterpiece for themselves and loving every minute of it. It starts very slowly, but later sections, especially in the Dies Irae, are pushed to the limit. The overall approach is not unlike that of Toscanini in its sense of outright commitment but it differs greatly in detail.
It is obvious that the soloists are not Italian, but there are special virtues in Ivan Petrov’s firm bass and Vishnevskaya’s majestic if not always firm soprano. The others are at least adequate on the whole. The chorus and orchestra are much more than that. They are simply superb, throwing themselves into the work with real energy and commitment. The occasional slips that occur can be easily forgiven in such a context. I understand that the same team made a later studio recording but I have not heard it. The recording quality is acceptable for its period, indeed better than is the norm with Russian recordings of that time.
As the performance runs to just over 80 minutes a second disc is required. This might have been a disincentive to purchase of the set but fortunately ICA had the imaginative idea of filling it with six Rossini Overtures in studio recordings made in Paris in 1957. Above all these are performances of real character. This is due partly to Markevitch’s control and the simple good humour that he imparts, but just as much to the delightfully individual sounds of the orchestra’s woodwind and brass. The trombones and horns in particular have a bite that avoids pomposity and lends excitement, while the woodwind principals play with real character. On the whole discs with a series of Overtures do not make for good continuous listening but I found that once started on the first I was impelled to carry on to the end.
Overall this set was a real discovery for me. Even if you normally avoid recordings of this period because of their perceived antiquated sound this is worth hearing for its sheer panache. The cover describes the performance of the Requiem as “electrifying” and I can do little better than echo that view, adding only that the Overtures are worthy companions.  

-- John Sheppard, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Ivan Petrov (Bass), Nina Isakova (Mezzo Soprano), Vladimir Ivanovsky (Tenor),
Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  Russian State Academy Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1960 
Venue:  Moscow 
La scala di seta: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1812; Italy 
Date of Recording: 4/1957 
Venue:  Paris 
La gazza ladra: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Italy 
La Cenerentola: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Written: 1817 
L'italiana in Algeri: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1813; Italy 
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Guillaume Tell: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Italy 

Sound Samples

Messa da Requiem: Requiem: Requiem aeternam
Messa da Requiem: Requiem: Kyrie
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Dies irae, dies illa
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Tuba mirum
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Mors stupebit
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Liber scriptus
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Quid sum miser
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Rex tremendae
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Recordare
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Ingemisco
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Confutatis
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Lacrymosa
Messa da Requiem: Offertorio: Domine Jesu
Messa da Requiem: Offertorio: Hostias et preces tibi
Messa da Requiem: Sanctus
Messa da Requiem: Agnus Dei
Messa da Requiem: Lux aeterna
Messa da Requiem: Libera me: Libera me, Domine
Messa da Requiem: Libera me: Dies irae
Messa da Requiem: Libera me: Requiem aeternam
Messa da Requiem: Libera me: Libera me, Domine
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville): Overture
La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder): Overture
Guillaume Tell (William Tell): Overture
La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie): Overture
L'Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers): Overture
La Cenerentola (Cinderella): Overture

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Relive History February 12, 2013 By Dr. Helen Hatton (Hamilton, ON) See All My Reviews "There is no one alive who heard Verdi conduct the premiere of his great Requiem at San Marco in Milan in May 1874, nor heard any of the subsequent performances at La Scala. Yet it is possible to experience something of the impact of meeting this glorious work for the first time in this recording from Msocow in 1960. In Stalin's totalitarian Russia, this music was not permitted. But when he was gone, and in the thaw of the early 1960s, conductor Igor Markevitch returned to Russia and conducted this performance with musicians who were performing for the first time what was for them an unknown work, one that had been denied them completely. The impact on them, and thus the listener is electrifying, and to which they responded with all the heart that their artistry allowed. It was reported that tears ran down Vishnevskaya's face as she sang, but all, soloists, orchestra and chorus, sing and play with unique intensity. We in the west will have our favourite moments among the score of recordings available. I treasure Pinza's noble line and Gigli's honeyed Hostias, from the old Rome recording, as well as moments with Toscanini, or Giulini's recording, among many. And then there are the still unequalled excerpts from the great historic singers in acoustic records from the early 20th Century. These are recordings without which I do not want to grow old. But equally, I do not want to grow old without this performance. It was known in the west to a few collectors who knew it on a small label LP which circulated briefly in the early 1960s, but now, finally it is available, beautifully remastered on CD. It should not be missed. The intensity, the commitment, the occasion, are unique." Report Abuse
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