Magazine article Gramophone

Live Anniversary War Requiems from Jansons in Munich and Pappano in Rome

Magazine article Gramophone

Live Anniversary War Requiems from Jansons in Munich and Pappano in Rome

Article excerpt

Britten

War Requiem, Op 66

Emily Magee sop Mark Padmore ten Christian

Gerhaher tor T5lz Boys'Choir; Bavarian Radio

Symphony Chorus and Orchestra / Mariss Jansons

BR-Klassik [M][2] 900120 (87' x DDD x T/t)

Recorded live at the Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich.

March 13 & 15.2013

Britten

War Requiem, Op 66

Anna Netrebko sop Ian Bostridge ten Thomas

Hampson bar Chorus, Childrens' Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa

Cecilia, Rome/Sir Antonio Pappano

Warner Classics [F] 615448-2 (80' x DDD x T/t)

Recorded live at the Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium

Parco della Musica, Rome, June 25,26,28 & 29, 2013

After 12 months of extraordinary activity, the Britten centenary comes to a fitting close on disc with these two major new releases. And how completely different they are. Recorded at a pair of concerts in Munich earlier this year, the War Requiem from Mariss Jansons and his Bavarian Radio SO inhabits a tense, oppressive world. The opening Kyrie immediately sets out with an urgent sense of seriousness, the chorus chanting the words with a rhythmic insistency that sounds more like Stravinsky (none of Noseda's primeval murmurings here). Although some of the speeds later are on the slow side, Jansons's concentration means that this performance constandy feels on edge, digging into rhythms with a martial rigidity, and focusing on the work's darkest thoughts and at its most extreme--its sense of outrage. The Latin sections of the Mass are well sung by the Bavarian chorus and the proto-Wagnerian soprano of Emily Magee, though the Offertorium is held in such a tight grip that it misses any of its usual sense of exuberance. In the Wilfred Owen settings, Mark Padmore always makes verbal poetry, despite some shortness of breath and a sometimes hard-pressed vibrato, and is as absorbing in the tenor solos as anybody. Christian Gerhaher, singing in excellent English, is simply outstanding--powerful, supremely expressive and unforgettable in the intensity that he creates in 'Strange Meeting'.

Pappano's performance opens very differently, the strings singing their initial phrases with an Italian lyrical warmth, the chorus intoning 'Requiem aeternam' softly in the distance. …

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