Verdi: Requiem

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WORKS: Requiem
PERFORMER: Anna Tomowa-Sintow (soprano), Agnes Baltsa (mezzo-soprano), José Carreras (tenor), José van Dam (bass-baritone); Vienna State Opera Concert Choir, Sofia National Opera Chorus, Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: 439 033-2 DDD (1985)
This Karajan recording, dating from 1984, is considerably more successful than the same conductor’s earlier version of the Requiem, although his female soloists then (Mirella Freni and Christa Ludwig) were superb. Here Karajan offers a more dramatic reading, and the Vienna PO responds with playing of a more Italianate style. The combined Vienna and Sofia choirs, superbly disciplined throughout, are exciting in the Dies irae, and the soloists are well matched, with José Carreras affecting in the ’ and Anna Tomowa-Sintow singing most beautifully, especially in the Libera me. My first choice of recording would still be Giulini (with the bonus of the Four Sacred Pieces), but Karajan’s is a most convincing account of Verdi’s magnificent score. Charles Osborne