Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giuseppe Verdi - Requiem (2010)

Riccardo Muti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Recorded in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, Chicago, January 15-17, 2009.

Maestro Muti began his tenure as Music Director of the CSO in 2010.  This is first recorded work with the group in that position, but overall his third recording of this particular work.  Muti is often associated with the music of Verdi; the Chicago Tribune has called him "the greatest Verdi conductor of our time."

Other than the Dies Irae, I was unfamiliar with this work.  (Unfortunately, the Dies Irae is used frequently in TV ads, most often heard for dramatic irony.)  Therefore, I don't really feel qualified to give this recording and interpretation much analysis, but I will say the CSO sounds incredible, as usual.  I don't care for the soloists much, except for Ildar Abdrazakov.  But I don't listen to much classical vocal work, so admittedly, my ear may be missing some things.  Did I mention the orchestra sounds incredible?

Credit to the CSO Resound label for including an excellent 32 page booklet with this 2 CD set.  This recording won two awards at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2011: Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.

On October 10, 2013, in celebration of Verdi's 200th birthday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of Muti, performed this work in Chicago and was broadcast worldwide.  To see that webcast, click here.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: The day after the above-mentioned webcast, I had the pleasure of hearing the CSO under the baton of Muti.

Front row, baby!!
No Verdi for me.  The program that afternoon was as follows:
  • Mozart: Divertimento in D Major, K. 136
  • Hindemith: Violin Concerto
  • Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet
I was in Chicago on a work-related trip, but felt lucky to attend this concert for 4 reasons: 1) it's the freakin' Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 2) Muti would be conducting (these days, music directors normally only conduct around half of an orchestra's concerts), 3) it was a matinee concert which would leave my evening free to check out some Chicago blues at Buddy Guy's club, and 4) there was a meet and greet with Muti following the concert.  After the concert, I paid way too much for a copy of this CD and had the maestro autograph it as a concert memento.

I had been to Orchestra Hall once before, but this matinee was a treat because I walked out of that beautiful venue in mid-afternoon, looked across Michigan Avenue, and the sunlight was shining upon the magnificent facade of The Art Institute of Chicago (where I had spent my morning).  Simple gorgeous.

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