Dvorak: Requiem; Six Biblical Songs, Op. 99

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WORKS: Requiem; Six Biblical Songs, Op. 99
PERFORMER: Maria Stader (soprano), Sieglinde Wagner (contralto), Ernst Haefliger (tenor), Kim Borg (bass), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Jörg Demus (piano); Czech Chorus, Prague PO/Karel Ancerl
CATALOGUE NO: 437 377-2 ADD (1959/60)
This is a marvellous issue! Some feel that the odour of sanctity hangs a little too heavy over Dvorák’s Requiem – written for the Birmingham Festival of 1891 – but in the right hands it emerges as a work of real stature. Ancerl produces simply the best performance on record. His tempi are always right and he is fearless in nudging things along when they threaten to stagnate. Choir and soloists match his vision in revealing the drama and abundant humanity of this marvellous work. The 1959 recording is a touch shrill with a perceptible hiss, but is mostly clear and true to the original. Jan Smaczny