The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is ready to kick off its first concert season with Riccardo Muti later this month. In January 2009, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Muti, at the time the music director designate, performed Verdi’s Messa da Requiem. Recorded during a sold-out concert, the live recording is the newest release on the orchestra’s own label, CSO Resound. Barbara Frittoli, Olga Borodina, Mario Zeffiri and Ildar Abdrazakov are featured vocal soloists selected by Muti.
Instead of flowering an unfamiliar Chicago audience with a lighter, whimsical work from Mozart, Muti entered the city’s spotlight with thunder and lightning leading the beasty requiem from the late 19th century. Opera Chic titled here concert review as a “Life changing experience”. She also quoted Chicago Tribune’s John Von Rhein and the Sun-Times’s Andrew Patner classical music critics, who both agreed the concert was memorable.
For the exception of an odd string quartet, Verdi’s Requiem was one of the few non-operatic works of consequence. Written in 1873-4 in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, a nationalist Italian writer, Verdi wrote a letter to Riccordi, his publisher:
“I too would like to demonstrate what affection and veneration I bore and bear that Great Man who is no more, and whom Milan has so worthily honoured. I would like to set to music a Mass for the Dead to be performed on the anniversary of his death.” (Quote from Verdi, Requiem by David Rosen)
Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is available in hybrid SACD, standard CD and digital download formats. The download is for sale at iTunes beginning September 21, and discs hit stores in the U.S. and Canada on September 28. The album is released in Europe and Japan on October 15. Beginning October 28, the download is available through other digital music services including Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic and HDtracks.
For information about other CSO Resound recordings, visit the CSO website.
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