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nice recording of Verdi's version of the Requiem
I have other versions of this same recording. This performance has been controversial since inception because it is one of the longest versions on record, but for me the assets outweigh the liabilities. HDTT has been able to reproduce the original cover...which is unique among all versions since the original. This recording was released as part of RCA's (sadly) short-lived "Soria Series" where the packaging of each album was in linen with wonderful artwork and you felt like you were buying an heirloom immediately with the purchase. With this recording we only get a "picture" of that original look, but the Soria Series was unique in the history of the LP. Of course, the point is the music and the sound (sorry for the nostalgia trip). I recently discovered a switch in my Mac which turns on 24/96KHz sound and it immediately (and not subtly) improved the sound of my UHD audio downloads from this site (and elsewhere). So the famous Vienna strings play with no stridency whatsoever...and, somehow, the lower midrange seems more solid as well. The treasure in this set is really the young Leontyne Price and the sound of the Sofiensaal (which was responsible for the Solti Wagner Ring, as well). Thus I don't mind buying this as possibly the 6th version of the same recording. Thanks to HDTT for the Hi-Rez work they are doing (and with "classic" recordings of the past).
Excellent interpretation and remastering.
This recording is one of the best Requiems in my opinion, but Decca’s remastering does not do justice to it; this remastering places both the voices and orchestra right in front with a lot of detail.
With sincere respect to the above accounts of this recording, I'm afraid I must beg to differ. Yes, there are many great aspects to this Reiner recording, but I can't help sensing a "Reiner can do no wrong" ubiquity in the above reviews. Brahms once described this work as a genuine masterpiece, but when listening to this performance, I find Reiner and the VPO not entirely simpatico. As a conductor, Reiner was a hardened and callous autocrat, and endless stories abound about his heartless compulsion to “divide” the musicians during his despotic reign over the Chicago Symphony. For myself, I am certainly a great fan of Reiner, but not blindly so, and often find his performances electric but not warm and fervent, of the likes of Munch, Mengelberg or Furtwangler. Also just as famous are the members of the VPO, who are not intimidated by any conductor, let alone Reiner. This orchestra has a history, even at the date of this recording, of well over a century, and all conductors know about the "arrogance" of this orchestra when trying to institute sweeping changes to the interpretation of standard repertoire like a Beethoven or Brahms Symphony, or – in this instance - Verdi's Requiem. Despite days of screaming and baton-throwing, you mostly end up conducting it their way! It has also been well documented that Reiner had serious brawls and disputes with the orchestra on this very recording, and for me, I can sense this in the push and pull of the performance. Sometimes Reiner is wanting to move forward, but the orchestra digs its heels in. And for me, that famous VPO string sound I find not at all convincing for Verdi. For myself, and indeed many people, the pinnacle of this masterpiece is the live performance of Toscanini’s from 1940. It ALSO has Bjorling, but for me, in much finer fettle. Bjorling – sadly an alcoholic - died suddenly at 49, only months after the Reiner recording, whereas this Toscanini performance dates from 20 years earlier, when Bjorling's voice was at his zenith. This performance will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, while Toscanini's grasp and concept of the structure is gobsmacking in the extreme (something not as evident in the Reiner recording). The performance is at times truly terrifying, while at others, meltingly lyrical, and Toscanini reveals the music like God would unfurl the universe to us. Also, the voices of Milanov, Castagna and Moscona are right up there with Bjorling’s. Equally horripilating! Make no mistake, the Reiner is still a fine recording of this divine work, and as a DSD download, I would still highly recommend it. However, if you wish to truly experience this work in its richest glory, magnificence, and triumph, the Toscanini 1940 version, though sadly not in such gorgeous HDTT sound, but still pretty damned good for 1940, is easily available. Warning - there is more than one version by Toscanini, and though I know only this live 1940 version, by all accounts, it is the greatest of all his performances of this Requiem. Oh - did I mention Toscanini knew Verdi personally, and spent copious hours discussing the interpretation of his music? Gil Sullivan
Title: Verdi Messa da Requiem
Artist(s): Conductor – Fritz Reiner
Orchestra – Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Bass Vocals – Giorgio Tozzi
Chorus – Society Of The Friends Of Music, Vienna
Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Rosalind Elias
Soprano Vocals – Leontyne Price
Tenor Vocals – Jussi Bjoerling
Recording Info: Transferred from 15ips 2-track tape
Producer: Erik Smith Engineer: James Brown
Recorded by Decca for RCA at Sofeinsaal, Vienna, May & June 1960
1 Requiem And Kyrie 12:03
2 Dies Irae Part 1 14:36
3 Dies Irae (Concluded) 25:07
4 Offertorium 11:59
5 Sanctus 2:45
6 Agnus Dei 5:33
7 Lux Aeterna 7:07
8 Libera Me 16:04
Total Time: 1:35:14