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Cherubini: Requiem in C minor

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Audio CD, October 19, 1990
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Product Details

  • Performer: Radio Chorus Berlin
  • Orchestra: Berlin Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Claus Peter Flor
  • Composer: Luigi Cherubini
  • Audio CD (October 19, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00000E6K2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,742 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Record Collector on December 18, 2006
"How fitting that in this year of the Bicentenaire [1989], Cherubini's C minor Requiem should be brought to the notice of the listening public! At the return to power of the Bourbons Cherubini had been appointed surintendant de la musique du roi, and in 1816, in memory of the tragic King Louis XVI of France, he composed his first Requiem Mass, scored for mixed voices and orchestra.

"Claus Flor has captured well the Requiem's double note of tragedy and mourning, its regal magnificence and its fleeting moments of triumph. The choir, at first, sound remote, subdued, almost shrouded, and the entries lack precision. The singers soon come into their own, however, and are completely in their element in the spectacular Dies irae, with its arresting last trump opening---the brass and a crashing tam-tam---an opening that evokes with equal horror the terrors of the Revolution and those of the Last Judgement. The singing broadens out into a flowing dialogue in the 'Recordare' section and there is one quietly poignant moment towards the end of the sequence, marked by the damped timpani, and the strings delicately playing their groups of three rising semiquavers. The Offertory best reveals the full potential of both choir and orchestra, in a movement made up of strong contrasts--taut counterpoint, romantic lyricism: one can understand how Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann could so admire Cherubini. 'Qua olim' becomes a triumphant march in the hands of Flor and the Sanctus a movement of pure rejoicing. Only with the Pie Jesu does the earlier mood of sorrow and mourning return and this is further intensified in the three impassioned invocations of 'Agnus Dei', leading through to the final series of quietly repeated Cs. The full text is given with translation."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By david on October 20, 2013
Equally: who needs soloists? Re-listening to the Verdi blockbuster which is really an opera dressed up as religious music, the Cherubini work to my mind is infinitely superior. Not only does it flow better as music but the concentration on the mass is not lost by stops, starts, various ensembles etc. Whatever the excitement of the piece and the wealth of ideas and effects of the Verdi, showstopper that they are is also its undoing, the general effect is to dilute the power, symbolically and musically, replacing the occasion with moments. Anybody who has attended the Verdi live will know what I am talking about. No cheesiness about the Cherubini...far more compact, dignified and centred. And with a choir like this who needs soloists? Every member of this choir is a soloist...brought together in a great ensemble. Overwhelming.

There is tremendous scale, stereo separation and spatial depth in this recording. Also a lovely acoustic - not too reverb or "churchy" - or at the other extreme dry and hard: the chorus blooms and fills in an ideal concert hall. There is real weight and slam in the climaxes where needed, but overall the sound is both spacious, hushed and intimate. I have never heard sacred choral music on this scale recorded so well. If this was a live performance I couldn't tell.

This is music of dignity in mourning with heartstoppingly beautiful moments. Cherubini sustains a mood of commemorative reverance for the executed royal couple and having sat in the Basilique and Church of Saint Denis, in Paris, where the service for Louis XVI took place, in 1817 where this premiered, I can well imagine how this music sounded, in a smaller cathedral interior space than say, St Pauls London, smaller than one would expect for the last resting place of the kings and queens of France.
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By Jane Signorelli on August 9, 2014
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