Verdi: Requiem

Reviewed on Fri 20 Feb, 2015

Recorded live in Munich’s Gasteig Philharmonie in October 2013, this riveting performance combines poetic mien with muscular piety to produce a reading of pulpit-thumping immediacy. There’s drama aplenty to be found in Mariss Jansons’s articulate marshalling of the score’s blazing brass, stentorian percussion, sublime choral passages and four solo vocal lines that plumb deep reservoirs of emotion. Subtlety, too, with tempi noticeably slower throughout, lending proceedings an elegantly elastic quality that betrays Jansons into occasional understatement. Consistently expressive, phrasing impeccably, adroitly negotiating wide dynamics and always in the moment, soprano Krassimira Stoyanova and mezzo Marina Prudenskaja come thrilling together in the gorgeously realised 'Recordare' and sumptuous 'Agnus Dei'. The young Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu has something of José Carreras about him; light, lyrical and full of sincere feeling in 'Hostias' and 'Ingemisco'. If bass Orlin Anastassov seems less secure with lower notes, elsewhere he shines with a dark, rumbling lustre like light breaking through lowering storm clouds.
–Michael Quinn