LABELS: LSO Live
ALBUM TITLE: Verdi
PERFORMER: Erika Grimaldi (soprano), Daniela Barcellona (contralto), Francesco Meli (tenor), Michele Pertusi (bass); London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda
CATALOGUE NO: LSO0800 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Verdi’s Requiem can appear a thrilling quasi-operatic work, as in Riccardo Muti’s first recording; or a genuinely profound meditation on Death and what may herald and succeed it, as in some of Carlo Maria Giulini’s recordings; or a terrifying combination of the two, as with Toscanini’s accounts from 1938 and 1940. Sometimes it can seem to be an oddly competitive work, the soloists vying with one another as to who can sing a great musical phrase best – starting with the ‘Kyrie eleison’. It does, I think, need a distinct approach, and in this live recording from the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra it doesn’t really get one.
Gianandrea Noseda’s alert and somewhat speedy account presents the Day of Wrath as a vocal and instrumental thrill, with none of the horrors so vividly conjured up in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. (Verdi himself, though no believer, was horrified at the thought of extinction.) The soloists are good without being outstanding, with Daniela Barcellona, a veteran of innumerable performances, impressively leading the way. The chorus is on great form, and all told there is little to complain about if what you want to do is enjoy a first-rate musical thriller.