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A BBC recording

VERDI REQUIEM On the death of Rossini in 1868 Verdi proposed that the leading Italian composers should jointly compose a Requiem Mass in his memory, each contributing one movement. The idea was adopted and Verdi completed his share, the concluding Libera me. However, there were difficulties in obtaining the singers and orchestra for the performance for the first anniversary of Rossini’s death, and since it was not intended to perform a work so inherently lacking in stylistic unity once the special occasion had passed, the project was abandoned when time ran out. Verdi put his contribution aside and began work on Aida, with which Cairo was to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. In the next few years Verdi sketched further movements for a possible Requiem, and when Alberto Mazzucato, a professor at the Milan Conservatory, wrote in praise of the Libera me, he replied that such commendation tempted him to compose a complete Requiem. He added, however, that the temptation would pass since there were so many settings and it would be useless to add one more to their number. Nevertheless, the idea remained in his mind, to be resolved into action in 1873 after the death of Alessandro Manzoni. Novelist, poet and patriot, Manzoni was the author of a celebrated novel, I promessi

sposi (The Betrothed). Verdi venerated him as a living saint, and after their only meeting declared: ‘I would have gone down on my knee before him if we were allowed to worship men’. He could not bear to attend the funeral, but a week later he visited the graveside alone. Verdi proposed to the Mayor of Milan the composition of a Requiem to be performed on the anniversary of Manzoni’s death. He would pay the cost of preparing the music if the city would finance the performance. The city agreed to this, and the Requiem was heard for the first time on 22 May 1874 in St Mark’s Church. Verdi himself rehearsed and conducted the performance, which was given by an orchestra of 100 and a choir of 120 with Teresa Stolz, La Scala’s first Aida, as soprano soloist. So great was the demand to hear the work that another three performances were given at La Scala, the composer conducting the first. Only the Requiem’s operatic musical style gave rise to criticism. The debate long continued, but who today would wish that Verdi had composed in a liturgical idiom foreign to his nature and experience? He was an agnostic who had spent his life in the theatre. It did not imply insincerity that when he contemplated the great drama that man

faces in death and divine judgement, he set the sacred text to music in dramatic terms. The Requiem begins pianissimo on muted strings, against which the chorus intones the opening prayer sotto voce, the key changing from A minor to A major at the consolatory reference to perpetual light. The bass voices lead off the brief Te decet hymnus, after which the opening prayer is repeated, leading this time to the Kyrie, where the soloists make their entrance. At the end the violins wing lightly aloft as though to direct our thoughts towards heaven. The Dies irae paints a terrifying picture of Judgement Day. Violent orchestral chords, swirling strings and offbeat cracks of doom on the bass drum punctuate the cries of the chorus. When the tempest has given way to trembling fear at the prospect of Judgement, the Last Trump is heard; four trumpets are answered by another four in the distance, and their ever more urgent fanfares reach a climax in the chorus Tuba mirum. The music suddenly pauses, and the bass soloist sings in chilling, broken phrases of death (Mors stupebit). The mezzo soprano tells of the book wherein all our deeds are recorded (Liber scriptus). Nothing will be overlooked, she sings, and this draws a renewed outburst of Dies irae from the choir. In the following passage the soprano, mezzo

and tenor soloists ask ‘What shall I say then?’ Rex tremendae majestatis is a terrified prayer for personal salvation with much repetition of the phrase Salva me. Recordare – a prayer to Jesus – is set as a duet for soprano and mezzo and has one of the loveliest melodies in the Requiem. The solo tenor prays that when the sheep and goats are divided the suppliant may be counted among the former (Ingemisco). The bass soloist adds his prayer to be called among the blessed. The Dies irae bursts out once more before the final section, a deeply expressive lament (Lacrimosa) initiated by the solo mezzo and ending with a gentle Amen. The Offertorio for the quartet of soloists is a mainly calm prayer, but the emotional tension increases with God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants. Trumpets herald the great shout of Sanctus, which launches a brilliant fugue for double choir. In the Agnus Dei the two female soloists, singing unaccompanied in octaves, pray to the Lamb of God with an eloquent melody which the chorus repeats, first softly in unison and later in expressive harmony. Ethereal string tremolos suggest the eternal light of Lux aeterna, while the voices rise in prayer as from the earth below. It is uncertain how much of the Libera me comes from that composed in Rossini’s

memory, but it seems probable that Verdi largely rewrote it for his complete Mass, incorporating music from two of its earlier movements. The emphasis is once more on personal salvation. The soprano soloist in extreme agitation utters the opening prayer and voices her fears of Divine wrath (Tremens factus). After a pause the tempest of Dies irae breaks out again, but gives way to a renewal of the first movement’s prayer, Requiem aeternam, now sung by soprano and chorus unaccompanied. An energetic choral fugue on Libera me follows, in the midst of which the soprano takes up the theme at half speed. After a big climax with the solo voice soaring above the choir, the soprano intones a last fearful plea for deliverance on that dreadful day, quietly seconded by the chorus in the closing bars.

VERDI REQUIEM TEXTS CD1 01 Requiem and Kyrie Quartet and chorus Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis. Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. 02 Dies irae Chorus Dies irae, dies illa Solvet saeclum in favilla Teste David cum Sibylla. Quantus tremor est futurus Quando judex est venturus Cuncta stricte discussurus. 03 Tuba mirum spargens sonum Per sepulchra regionum Coget omnes ante thronum. Solo bass Mors stupebit et natura Cum resurget creatura Judicanti responsura.

Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. A hymn becometh Thee, O God, in Sion, and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer, to Thee all flesh shall come. Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.

Day of wrath, that day Shall dissolve the world in ashes As David and the Sibyl testify. How much trembling there will be When the Judge has come To weigh all things strictly. The trumpet scattering its wondrous sound Through the graves of every land Will drive all before the throne.

Death and nature will be astounded When creation rises again To answer the Judge.

04 Solo mezzo soprano Liber scriptus proferetur In quo totum continetur Unde mundus judicetur.

A book of writings shall be brought Containing everything For which the world will be judged.

Judex ergo cum sedebit, Quidquid latet apparebit, Nil inultum remanebit.

Therefore when the Judge sits, Whatever is hidden will appear, Nothing will go unavenged.

Chorus Dies irae, dies illa Solvet saeclum in favilla Teste David cum Sibylla.

Day of wrath, that day Shall dissolve the world in ashes As David and the Sibyl testify.

05 Soprano, mezzo soprano and tenor Quid sum miser tunc dicturus, Quem patronum rogaturus Cum vix justus sit securus?

What shall I, wretch that I am, say then, Whose patronage shall I ask When the righteous are hardly safe?

06 Quartet and chorus Rex tremendae majestatis, Qui salvandos salvas gratis, Salva me, fons pietatis.

King of dread majesty, Who freely savest the redeemed, Save me, fount of pity.

07 Soprano and mezzo soprano Recordare, Jesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae, Ne me perdas illa die.

Remember, merciful Jesus, That I am the cause of Thy journey, Let me not be lost on that day.

Quaerens me sedisti lassus, Redemisti crucem passus, Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Seeking me Thou didst weary Thyself, To redeem me didst suffer on the Cross, Let not such travail be in vain.

Juste judex ultionis, Donum fac remissionis Ante diem rationis. 08 Solo tenor Ingemisco tamquam reus, Culpa rubet vultus meus, Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Just Judge of vengeance, Grant me the gift of remission Before the day of reckoning.

I groan as one guilty, My countenance blushes with guilt, Spare the suppliant, O God.

Qui Mariam absolvisti Et latronem exaudisti Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Thou who didst absolve Mary And listen to the robber Hast given me hope also.

Preces meae non sunt dignae, Sed tu, bonus fac benigne, Ne perenni cremer igne.

My prayers are unworthy, But Thou, good Lord, have mercy, Lest I burn in everlasting fire.

Inter oves locum praesta, Et ab haedis me sequestra, Statuens in parte dextra.

Allow me a place among the sheep, And from the goats divide me, Setting me upon Thy right hand.

09 Solo bass Confutatis maledictis Flammis acribus addictis, Voca me cum benedictis. Oro supplex et acclinis, Cor contritum quasi cinis, Gere curam mei finis.

When the wicked are confounded And consigned to the bitter flames, Call me with the blessed. I pray, a kneeling suppliant, My heart contrite as ashes, Take into Thy care my end.

Chorus Dies irae, dies illa Solvet saeclum in favilla Teste David sum Sibylla. 10 Quartet and chorus Lacrimosa dies illa Qua resurget ex favilla Judicandus homo reus. Huic ergo parce, Deus. Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Day of wrath, that day Shall dissolve the world in ashes As David and the Sibyl testify.

Sorrowful that day When rising from the ashes Sinful man goes to be judged. Therefore spare him, O God. Merciful Lord Jesus, Grant them rest. Amen.

CD2 01 Offertorio Quartet Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae, libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis et de profundo lacu. Libera eas de ore leonis, ne absorbeat eas Tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum. Sed signifer sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam; Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus.

02 Hostias et preces tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus. Tu suscipe pro animabus illis quarum hodie memoriam facimus. Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit. Deliver them from the lion’s mouth, that hell may not swallow them, and they may not fall into darkness. But let the holy standard-bearer Michael bring them into the holy light; Which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his seed. We offer Thee, Lord, sacrifice of prayers and praise. Receive them for those souls whom this day we commemorate. Make them, Lord, to pass from death to life.

Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus. Libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni, fac eas de morte transire ad vitam.

Which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his seed. Deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell, make them to pass from death to life.

03 Sanctus Double chorus Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

04 Agnus Dei Soprano, mezzo soprano and chorus Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant them eternal rest.

05 Lux aeterna Mezzo soprano, tenor and bass Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Let eternal light shine upon them, Lord, with Thy saints for ever, for Thou art merciful. Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

06 Libera me Soprano and chorus Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra, dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.

Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death on that dreadful day, when the heavens and earth shall be moved, and Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire. I am seized with trembling and fear when I reflect on the trial and wrath to come, when the heavens and earth shall be moved.

07 Dies irae, dies illa calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.

Day of wrath, that day of calamity and misery, a great and exceeding bitter day.

08 Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

09 Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda. Libera me, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra, dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem. Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda. Libera me.

Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death on that dreadful day. Deliver me, when the heavens and earth shall be moved, and Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire. Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death on that dreadful day. Deliver me. Note and Dies irae translation Š Eric Mason


Born in Toro, Spain, Jesús López-Cobos graduated in philosophy from Madrid University. He had received no formal musical training when he began conducting the university choir, but his talent was obvious and in 1966 he began studying conducting in Italy with Franco Ferrara and later in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky. In 1968 he won first prize in the Besançon Competition and shortly after made his professional conducting débuts in opera at La Fenice, Venice, and in concert in Prague.

Dame Margaret Price was born in Wales and studied at the Trinity College of Music, London. She made her début with the Welsh National Opera as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, a role she repeated at Covent Garden the following year. She is known as one of the greatest Mozart sopranos of her generation, singing the leading female roles in virtually all the great opera houses of the world. She is equally recognized as a Verdi soprano, with an acclaimed Metropolitan Opera début in 1985.

Jesús López-Cobos was Music Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid from 2003 to 2010, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 2000, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra from 1990 until 2000, General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1981 until 1990 and Music Director of the Spanish National Orchestra from 1984 until 1988. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1981 to 1986.

© Tanja Niemann

© Javier del Real


As a concert singer, Margaret Price has sung or recorded much of the classical concert repertoire, working with many of the greatest conductors of the 20th century. She is also well-known as a Lieder singer, appearing in all the major recital venues of the world. She has an extensive discography covering opera, concert and song. A distinguished career has been marked by several honours including a CBE in 1982. In 1993 she was made a Dame of the British Empire.

LIVIA BUDAI mezzo soprano


Hungarian-born Livia Budai graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Beginning her opera career at Budapest State Opera, she made her Royal Opera House, London début in 1977. Over the next decade she sang a wide range of repertoire with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich as well as frequent performances in opera houses across Europe. She has appeared widely in the US, making her Metropolitan Opera début in 1987 in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Key operas include Don Carlos, Carmen, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre, Rusalka, Samson et Dalila, Salome, Elektra and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle.

Italian tenor Giuseppe Giacomini made his début as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Vercelli and has since sung at all the important opera houses of the world. He has close relationships with the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Royal Opera House, London; La Scala, Milan; and the Wiener Staatsoper, which awarded him with the title Kammersänger. He was also awarded two of the most honourable decorations in Italy: the title of Commendatore e Cavaliere dell’Ordine di S. Gregorio Magno and the Medaglia d’oro di Benemerito della Scuola della Cultura ed Arte.

Her first solo record of arias was released in 1989, followed by recordings of operatic and concert repertoire including music by Mahler, Charpentier, Schumann, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn. Television broadcasts include Il Trovatore, Tristan und Isolde, Falstaff and Nabucco. In addition she has made frequent appearances on the concert platform, performing in major concert halls in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Budapest, Brussels, Montreal, Toronto and Vienna.

With his 1996 début as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen in Palermo he added the first French role to his repertory which was followed by his sensational début as Samson in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila in November 1999 at the Opernhaus Zurich. He has an extensive recording catalogue of opera, recitals and arias, including Tosca with Muti (Philips), Norma with Levine (Sony) and Manon Lescaut with Campori (RCA).


Robert Lloyd was born in Essex and educated at Oxford University. In 1972 he was appointed Principal Bass at the Royal Opera House, London, where he continues to sing an enormous range of repertoire. He has also appeared with the major opera houses throughout the world including the Metropolitan Opera, New York; La Scala, Milan; Deutsche Oper, Berlin; Opera National de Paris; Netherlands Opera; Salzburg Festival and San Francisco Opera. His repertoire includes Rigoletto, Parsifal, Die Zauberflöte, Aida, Faust, Romeo et Juliette, Simon Boccanegra, Les Troyens, Otello, Pelléas et Mélisande, Don Giovanni, Samson et Dalila, Hamlet, Don Carlos and the title role in Boris Godunov which he has sung in London, St Petersburg, Vienna, Amsterdam and Florence.

The London Philharmonic Choir was founded in 1947 as the chorus for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is widely acclaimed as one of the nation’s finest choirs and consistently meets with critical acclaim. Continuing to perform regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Choir also works with many other orchestras throughout the United Kingdom and makes annual appearances at the BBC Proms. It has performed under some of the world’s most eminent conductors – among them Pierre Boulez, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti and Klaus Tennstedt. The London Philharmonic Choir has participated in more than seventy recordings, including a Gramophone-Awardwinning performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony under Klaus Tennstedt. The Choir often travels overseas and in recent years it has appeared at the Canary Islands and Lucerne music festivals, and given concerts in Europe, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

Robert Lloyd has featured in several highly successful television productions. He has also written and presented a number of radio programmes on opera and the voice for the BBC. He has a vast discography of over seventy audio and video recordings. In the 1991 New Year’s Honours List he was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

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© Les Campbell


London Philharmonic Orchestra

© Patrick Harrison

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is known as one of the world’s great orchestras with a reputation secured by its performances in the concert hall and opera house, its many award-winning recordings, its trail-blazing international tours and its pioneering education work. Distinguished conductors who have held positions with the Orchestra since its foundation in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham include Sir Adrian Boult, Sir John Pritchard, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt, Franz Welser-Möst and Kurt Masur. Vladimir Jurowski was appointed the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor in March 2003 and became Principal Conductor in September 2007, succeeding Kurt Masur. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been resident symphony orchestra at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since 1992 and there it presents its main series

of concerts between September and May each year. In summer, the Orchestra moves to Sussex where it has been Resident at Glyndebourne Festival Opera for over 40 years. The Orchestra also performs at venues around the UK and has made numerous tours to America, Europe and Japan, and visited India, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Australia, South Africa and Abu Dhabi. The London Philharmonic Orchestra made its first recordings on 10 October 1932, just three days after its first public performance. It has recorded and broadcast regularly ever since, and in 2005 established its own record label. These recordings are taken mainly from live concerts given by famous conductors including LPO Principal Conductors from Beecham and Boult, through Haitink, Solti and Tennstedt, to Masur and Jurowski.

Highlights from the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s label

For more information or to purchase CDs telephone +44 (0)20 7820 4242 or visit




Elgar S  ea Pictures and Symphony No. 1

Janáček and Schubert

Tchaikovsky S  ymphonies Nos.1 & 6




Brahms Symphonies Nos.1 & 2

Brahms A German Requiem

Mahler Symphony No.2

CD1 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 CD2

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)


45:10 9:48 2:15 2:51 4:46 3:41 3:36 4:06 3:14 5:09 5:44

Requiem Aeternam Dies Irae: Dies Irae Tuba Mirum Liber Scriptus Quid Sum Miser Rex Tremendae Recordare Ingemisco Confutatis Lacrimosa


01 4:13 02 5:12 03 2:36 04 5:09 05 6:03 06 2:17 07 2:20 08 3:22 09 6:13

Offertorium: Domine, Jesu Christe Hostias Sanctus Agnus Dei Lux Aeterna Libera Me: Libera Me Dies Irae Requiem Aeternam Libera Me

JESÚS LÓPEZ-COBOS conductor MARGARET PRICE soprano LIVIA BUDAI mezzo soprano GIUSEPPE GIACOMINI tenor ROBERT LLOYD bass LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA and CHOIR David Nolan leader Richard Cooke chorus master Recorded live at Southbank Centre’s ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, London

LPO – 0048

Profile for London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD: Verdi Requiem - LPO-0048  

Booklet for LPO-0048 - Verdi Requiem conducted by Lopez-Cobos

CD: Verdi Requiem - LPO-0048  

Booklet for LPO-0048 - Verdi Requiem conducted by Lopez-Cobos