Verdi - Requiem (Karajan, 1967, Milan)

Verdi – Requiem (Karajan, La Scala Orchestra and Chorus of Milan, including Pavarotti)

A great and dramatic presentation of Herbert von Karajan conducting La Scala Orchestra and Chorus of Milan with Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto and Nicolai Ghiaurov at an amazing version of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem. This 1967 filmed performance is a treasure of classical music.

The Messa da Requiem is a musical setting of the Roman Catholic funeral mass (Requiem) for four soloists, double choir and orchestra by Giuseppe Verdi. It was composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni (7 March 1785 – 22 May 1873), the Italian poet and novelist whom Verdi admired. The first performance, at the San Marco church in Milan on 22 May 1874, marked the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death. The work was at one time called the Manzoni Requiem. It is rarely performed in liturgy, but rather in concert form of around 85–90 minutes in length. Musicologist David Rosen, an expert in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Italian opera calls it “probably the most frequently performed major choral work composed since the compilation of Mozart’s Requiem.”

Alessandro Manzoni
Alessandro Manzoni (7 March 1785 – 22 May 1873), in whose honour Verdi wrote the Requiem. He is famous for the novel The Betrothed (orig. Italian: I Promessi Sposi) (1840), generally ranked among the masterpieces of world literature. The novel is also a symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, both for its patriotic message and because it was a fundamental milestone in the development of the modern, unified Italian language.

When the Requiem was composed, female singers were not permitted to perform in Catholic Church rituals (such as a requiem mass). However, from the beginning Verdi intended to use female singers in the work. In his open letter proposing the Requiem project (when it was still conceived as a multi-author Requiem for Rossini), Verdi wrote: If I were in the good graces of the Holy Father—Pope Pius IX—I would beg him to permit—if only for this one time—that women take part in the performance of this music; but since I am not, it will fall to someone else better suited to obtain this decree.” In the event, when Verdi composed the Requiem alone, two of the four soloists were sopranos, and the chorus included female voices.

Programme

With starting times in the video:

  1. 0:00:32 Requiem
  2. 0:08:43 Dies Irae
  3. 0:10:55 Tuba Mirum
  4. 0:12:58 Mors Stupebit
  5. 0:14:19 Liber Scriptus
  6. 0:19:23 Quid Sum Miser
  7. 0:23:13 Rex Tremendae
  8. 0:26:44 Recordare
  9. 0:31:05 Ingemisco
  10. 0:34:45 Confutatis
  11. 0:40:24 Lacrymosa
  12. 0:46:05 Offertorio
  13. 0:56:53 Sanctus
  14. 0:59:51 Agnus Dei
  15. 1:04:32 Lux Aeterna
  16. 1:10:45 Libera Me

Soloists:
Leontyne Price (soprano), Fiorenza Cossotto (mezzo-soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) and Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass).

These singers are captured in their glorious prime and at this time their careers were taking on a meteoric rise to fame in the opera scene of the late 60’s and would continue well into the 70’s.

You can buy the DVD on amazon.com.

Sources