Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala/Barenboim: Verdi Requiem

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COMPOSERS: Verdi
LABELS: Decca
ALBUM TITLE: Verdi: Requiem
WORKS: Requiem
PERFORMER: Anja Harteros, Elina Garanča, Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala/Daniel Barenboim
CATALOGUE NO: 478 5245

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Recorded at La Scala in August 2012, Daniel Barenboim’s live Verdi Requiem benefits from a spacious recording that allows the intimate detail of the music to register, as well as the grandeur of its largest gestures.

From the slow and solemn opening, too, Barenboim’s interpretative view is grand in conception, with the La Scala performers offering him sufficient depth and richness of tone to paint the piece with a huge palette of colours. He’s responsive to its harmonic contours, though occasionally there’s a dearth of momentum – ‘Te decet hymnus’ in the opening section, for instance – while the dancing notes of the Sanctus are not always neat.

But the four soloists form a quartet finely balanced in vocal weight and proficiency. Anja Harteros’s soprano combines ethereality with substance, resulting in subtly coloured expressivity. Elina GaranΩa’s mezzo feels perfectly scaled to the music. Jonas Kaufmann combines complete technical mastery with vivid tonal variety and commitment to the text; it is this personal quality that bass René Pape lacks, though his vocalism is delivered on an equally empowered scale to that of his colleagues. Though it doesn’t outdo Antonio Pappano’s recent recording, this is an impressive account.

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George Hall