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Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra | Verdi Requiem

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Verdi Requiem

by Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra

Conductor Donald Kendrick and the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra respectfully honored Verdi's late romantic "monument of Western Civilization" with this live recording of the Italian Master's "Requiem" at the UC Davis Mondavi Center.
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Requiem and Kyrie
8:53 $0.99
2. Dies irae
2:13 $0.99
3. Tuba mirum
3:03 $0.99
4. Liber scriptus
4:43 $0.99
5. Quid sum miser
3:19 $0.99
6. Rex tremendae
3:25 $0.99
7. Recordare
4:04 $0.99
8. Ingemisco
3:20 $0.99
9. Confutatis
5:19 $0.99
10. Lacrymosa
5:37 $0.99
11. Offertorio
9:12 $0.99
12. Sanctus
2:39 $0.99
13. Agnus Dei
4:43 $0.99
14. Lux Aeterna
6:24 $0.99
15. Libera Me
12:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Verdi's 'Requiem' was an exultant success. - CONCERT REVIEW - Mary Nares, Sacramento Press - March 21, 2011

Howling winds and slashing blasts of icy rain overflowing streets and gutters made Saturday a terrific night to stay at home before the fire.

Yet the tempestuous weather and hazardous driving conditions could not dissuade some 1,400 fans from attending a landmark concert at the Mondavi Center in Davis.

The Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra performed Guiseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” to a hushed and enthralled audience.

Director Donald Kendrick conducted the 55-member of the orchestra, 180-voice chorus and four guest soloists in a stunning 90-minute performance. That he did so without working from a score was testimony to his deep love and respect for the music and his dedication to sterling performance.

From the quiet, tender opening notes of the “Requiem aeternam,” there was a palpable sigh of an audience caught in the certainty that they were experiencing a remarkable musical event.

Verdi’s masterwork then rushed into a powerful, terrifying tumult throughout the “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath) movement. The full fury of the heavens was heard through the crashing bass drum and the fanfare of trumpets.

The remaining movements were of a more devotional and contemplative nature, dealing with redemption, salvation and hope.

The double chorus provided a glorious display of the majesty of massed human voices. The precise harmonies of so many beautifully trained voices lent magnificence to the work.

The four soloists brought operatic richness and great emotional texture. Soprano Karen Slack, mezzo soprano Julie Simson, tenor Bjorn Arvidsson and bass Kevin Thompson sang with passion and power, tenderness and brilliance.

Particularly gorgeous was the pairing of Slack and Simson in the “Agnus Dei.” Their voices beseeching the heavens for eternal rest and peace were spellbinding.

Arvidsson’s “Ingemisco” was performed with precision and intensity.

Thompson, a last-minute substitution for the bass scheduled to perform, demonstrated his rich bass in the lyrical “Tuba mirum.”

However, the most outstanding solo performance was Slack’s “Libera me,” the final movement of the operatic Mass. Her strength and emotive power sent chills through the audience.

Kendrick first conducted the Verdi “Requiem” at Carnegie Hall in 1995. The SCSO has also performed this work at the Sacramento Community Center Theater. However, James McCormick, president of the SCSO board of directors, said the group was eager to perform again at the Mondavi because “It is a much warmer hall,” lending a deeper richness to the sound quality.

“I am so proud of our audience, to brave the weather and come to support us,” McCormick said. “Our audience is wonderful. There are even people here from San Francisco.” http://sacramentochoral.com/

A Bracing Requiem from Sacramento - San Francisco Classical Voice - Edward Ortiz

At first hearing, pairing well-etched singing of the soft and radiant kind with searing orchestral music may be counterintuitive for a work like Verdi’s Requiem.

But this is exactly what the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra’s did in its performance of Verdi’s 1874 masterwork, at the Mondavi Center for the Arts Saturday evening.

And the result was a Requiem whose musical pathos became self-evident with the subtle but undeniable elegance of a tiny strand of pearls.

Taking on this quasi-operatic work and making it play out over a big musical canvas has never been an issue for SCSO Musical Director Donald Kendrick. It was with this work that he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a chorister with the Boston Symphony Orchestra three decades ago, and it’s the same work that he and his SCSO took to that very hall for its debut in 2003.

Kendrick, who on Saturday conducted from memory, proved a savvy conjurer of the most fraught musical moments. These moments were revealed by way of the strong and clearly shaped music from this chorus. In the Sanctus and in the concluding sections of Libera Me, his choir gave shimmering, resplendent performances. The Latin text was never delivered with muddled diction, nor was the dark weight of the music underplayed.

The most noteworthy aspect of this performance was the amalgam of what the four soloists added, which was all about detail of the soft kind. The most emotionally potent of these, though restrained, was the performance given by soprano Karen Slack. The restraint seemed most noticeable in the Libera Me, with her singing skewing toward an almost whispered subtlety instead of operatic bombast.
Sweet Blend

Her voice was well-paired with the warm and light radiance of mezzo-soprano Julie Simson. The two offered a poignant duet in the Agnus Dei. Here Kendrick went for a soft, tasteful blending of voices rather than any sort of musical exclamations. It was an example of how music can be somber and musically delicious at the same time.

Tenor Bjorn Arvidsson offered a warm and well-shaped voice nicely suited to Verdi’s music. His tenor is not a gigantic one, but it is tonally fluid and honed well. In this performance, it came across as a highly sympathetic element. Bass Kevin Thompson, a last-minute replacement for ailing bass Clayton Brainerd, offered a dusky bass, though his voice seemed the odd man out in this arrangement of singers.

Unlike the clear, finely etched musical phrasing of the other three, though, Thompson’s grand and almost sepulchral voice was marked by moments of chunky unclarity, and the beginnings of his musical lines often lacked power.

Throughout, conductor Kendrick coaxed a strong performance from the orchestra, with woodwinds and brass playing with a noble urgency. Kendrick seized on all the dramatic elements in Verdi’s masterpiece. There were, however, rough patches where the sound balance was off between orchestra and soloists, namely in the latter music of the Dies Irae.

The SCSO’s approach to this masterful music, in which soloists eschewed larger-than-life singing, was greatly appealing. With so much fire and brimstone already a part of the equation, the juxtaposition was dramatically bracing.

Edward Ortiz is the Arts Critic for The Sacramento Bee and has written for The Boston Globe, the Berkshire Eagle, and The Providence Journal.



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