Heard it live last night. What's the best recording?
Playbackmagazine's Ted Libbey recommends the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with Robert Shaw conducting on Telarc.
There is also a recent DVD with Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic, in case you like that format.
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The Verdi Requiem is one of those works that have so many good recordings it's difficult and rather presumptuous to select a best. I love the Bernstein with the LSO and Placido Domingo at the beginning of his career (a heart rending ingemisco). The characterization of the choral parts, very dramatic, very theatrical, is more thrilling than on any other recording known to me, and the dies irae is simply hairraising.
The most recent Abbado (on EMI, I believe) I heard once and thought was quite magnficent. And there's also a relatively recent Muti that I recall as very good too. And it's hard to go wrong with the classic Guilini on EMI. I'd avoid the Reiner though. As for the Shaw, I have great respect for Ted Libbey and for the late Alan Bythe of Gramophone, who also admired it, but like most of Shaw's work I find it rhythmically stodgy, however glorious the choral work as such.
For me, the Verdi Requiem is an opera masquerading as a requiem, and it's perhaps for this reason that I return most consistently to the Bernstein, who realizes its drama, its operatic theatricality to spectacular effect.
Speaking of Verdi, recently my wife and I heard the LA Opera's production of Otello with Ian Storey as the lead and a soprano who's name escapes me as Desdemona (out of this world, by the way). One of the miracles of music, this score is, and I've started collecting recordings. I've had the Levine/first Domingo for years, and it's wonderful. The Maazel, again Domingo, is every bit as good as Blythe says it is. The latest Domingo, with Chung conducting, is fabulous too: extremely disciplined and exciting orchestral and choral work (perhaps a bit too much so in the brindisi, which sounds a tad straightjacketed for a drinking song, but scintillating all the same). Superb sonics (also true of the Levine--the Maazel a little low in level, however). If you don't know Otello, acquire any one of these recordings and prepare for a revelation.
Thanks! And thanks for the Othello tips. When you refer to superb sonics, you're referring to the Chung?
yes, primarily, but the Levine on RCA is also superb too (and analog, if that matters to you). The Maazel is good, better than good, but the level is rather low.
I'm trying to figure out if I really like vinyl better. For an archival purchase, I think I'll stick with CD for now.
well, it's rather academic, as the vinyl is NLA unless you can pick up a used copy.