Dvořák, Requiem, op. 89, L. Milne, K. Cargill, P. Auty, P. Rose, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, N. Järvi
(released on February 23, 2010)
LPO 0042 | 84'45"
Recent recordings have the advantage of the availability of a critical score, published in 2001 in the complete works of Editio Bärenreiter Prague, approved by the Dvořák Society. This Requiem is a work that rewards multiple listenings, with its unusual use of percussion (especially in the Tuba mirum movement), its generally colorful scoring (for example, the bass clarinet croaking along with the bass soloist in the Hostias), and the elusive chromatic motif (sol-le-fi-sol) that runs through all the movements like a graveyard shudder. All local performing organizations should consider this an official Ionarts request: no more performances of Verdi's or Mozart's Requiem Mass or Bach's B Minor Mass until we have a performance of Dvořák's Requiem Mass in Washington. Apparently, I am too late for next season: among the Washington Chorus, City Choir of Washington, Choral Arts Society, Cathedral Choral Society, there are already three performances of the Verdi (!), one of the Mozart, and two of the Bach scheduled for next season alone.
Another new release of Dvořák's Requiem, from Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, is likely to be even better (it has yet to reach my mailbox). It is centered on a superior chorus, the Vienna Singverein (celebrating its 150th anniversary), and has excellent male soloists in tenor Klaus Florian Vogt and bass Thomas Quasthoff, if the female soloists, including mezzo Mihoko Fujimura, inspire less confidence. Jansons also pairs the work nicely with the same composer's eighth symphony, which is a good way to avoid wasting so much empty space on two discs when the Requiem is offered by itself.