Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Friday, April 20, 2018

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem – Marita Solberg, Tuija Knihtilä, Barry Banks, Henning von Schulman, Gothenburg Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli (HD 1080p)

The Italian conductor Roberto Rizzi Brignoli directs Verdi's Requiem with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Choir with soloists Marita Solberg (soprano), Tuija Knihtilä (mezzo-soprano), Barry Banks (tenor) and Henning von Schulman (bass). The concert was recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall on October 21, 2017.

Requiem, also called Requiem Mass, Italian in full Messa da requiem per l'anniversario della morte di Manzoni 22 maggio 1874 ("Requiem Mass for the Anniversary of the Death of Manzoni May 22, 1874"), requiem mass by Giuseppe Verdi, intended as a memorial to a departed hero – the poet, playwright, and novelist Alessandro Manzoni. Requiem premiered in Milan on May 22, 1874. It is Verdi's largest-scale nonoperatic work.

The leading Italian writer of the 1800s, Manzoni played the role in Italy that Goethe had for an earlier generation of Germans: that of the country's literary soul. On May 22, 1873, when Manzoni passed away, all Italy mourned. Verdi, in a letter to his publisher, expressed a wish to write something in memory of Manzoni. Determined to conduct the work himself on the first anniversary of Manzoni's death, Verdi arranged with the city of Milan that the premiere would take place in San Marco. Requiem premiered on schedule to massive public acclaim. The performance at San Marco was followed by three more at La Scala.

In the opening "Requiem Aeternam", "Te Decet Hymnus", and "Kyrie" sections, Verdi gradually builds up energy on flowing lines of imitative polyphony.

The second movement, which has 10 sections, begins with a "Dies Irae" that spans roughly half an hour by itself. It opens with strident brass, swirling strings and the tumultuous fury of the chorus's lines. For the "Tuba Mirum" portion, the solo trumpet grows to a trumpet ensemble as the composer evokes the trumpet that on Judgment Day calls forth the dead from their graves. Also of note in this movement are the virtuosic use of the vocal quartet in the "Rex Tremendae" section and the tenor aria in the "Ingemisco".

The "Offertorio" (third movement) sets the chorus aside in favour of the vocal quartet, though the chorus returns in force for the "Sanctus" (fourth movement). The "Agnus Dei" (fifth movement) begins with the soprano and mezzo-soprano in lullaby-like a capella lines, before being joined gently by the chorus and orchestra. The "Lux Aeterna" (sixth movement) combines the mezzo-soprano not with the soprano, but rather with the tenor and bass, as shimmering string tremolos seek to capture the sense of that eternal light.

For the seventh and final movement, "Libera Me", Verdi provides assertive lines for the solo soprano, while the chorus is set in a far more soft-spoken fashion, at least until the return of the tempest of sound that is the "Dies Irae". The "Requiem Aeternam" of the first movement is also repeated. In the final section of the work, Verdi layers the choral parts into a restless fugue.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (

Verdi completed his Requiem Mass in April 1874 and conducted the first performance on May 22, 1874, at the church of San Marco in Milan. The work is scored for solo quartet, mixed chorus, and an orchestra consisting of three flutes and piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, four bassoons, four horns, four trumpets (with four additional trumpets offstage), three trombones and tuba (replacing the obsolete ophicleide), timpani, bass drum, and strings.

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

♪ Messa da Requiem (1874)

i. Introit and Kyrie (chorus, soloists)
ii. Dies irae
Dies irae (chorus)
Tuba mirum (chorus)
Mors stupebit (bass)
Liber scriptus (mezzo-soprano, chorus)
Quid sum miser (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor)
Rex tremendae (soloists, chorus)
Recordare (soprano, mezzo-soprano)
Ingemisco (tenor)
Confutatis (bass, chorus)
Lacrymosa (soloists, chorus)
iii. Offertory
Domine Jesu Christe (soloists)
Hostias (soloists)
iv. Sanctus (double chorus)
v. Agnus Dei (soprano, mezzo-soprano, chorus)
vi. Lux aeterna (mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass)
vii. Libera me (soprano, chorus)
Libera me
Dies irae
Requiem aeternam
Libera me

Marita Solberg, soprano
Tuija Knihtilä, mezzo-soprano
Barry Banks, tenor
Henning von Schulman, bass

Gothenburg Symphony Choir
Choir Master: Alexander Einarsson

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Roberto Rizzi Brignoli

Gothenburg Concert Hall, October 21, 2017

(HD 1080p)

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli graduated with honors in Piano at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, where he also studied composition and conducting. Until 2002, he was Head of Music Services at the Teatro alla Scala and eventually started collaborating with Riccardo Muti, whose appreciation of him resulted in Brignoli conducting numerous productions there.

The turning points of his career and the events which made him internationally renowned were the productions of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia and Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, when he took over the musical direction at short notice, gaining a huge success.

The emphasis of his artistic work lies in the whole range of the Italian and French operatic repertoire, as well as in the classic, romantic, up to the modern symphonic repertoire. During his intense symphonic activity he worked with such institutions as the Orchestra dell'Arena di Verona, Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Orchestra of Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Orchestra dei Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, I Cameristi della Scala, Orchestra Toscanini of Parma, Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Limburger Symphonic Orchestra, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest in Amsterdam, Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon, Orchestre National de Lille, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France.

In addition to his extensive symphonic work, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli also led countless opera stagings, including Otello, La Traviata, Rigoletto, I Due Foscari, L'elisir d'amore, Adriana Lecouvreur, and La Fille du Régiment at the most renowned opera houses and festivals in Italy, Spain, France, Japan, Switzerland, the USA, and Germany, including Hamburg and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, with whom he has had a close relationship since several years and where he is annually leading, in particular, new productions.

In 2010, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli made his acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York with La Bohème. Highlights of recent years include Rigoletto at the Avanches Festival and at the Chorégies d'Orange, Norma, Tosca, Luisa Miller, and La Fille du Régiment in Lausanne, Lucia di Lammermoor, I due Foscari, La Traviata, as well as the greatly successful new productions of La Rondine (Stage Director: Rolando Villazón) and L'Elisier d'Amore at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Macbeth, Lucia di Lammermoor und Il Trovatore in Lille, Manon Lescaut in Muscat, Un ballo in Maschera in Metz, Il Turco in Italia in Hamburg, Il Trovatore in Luxemburg, and Lucia di Lammermoor in Avignon.

Among his projects in season 2017-2018 are La Bohème in Metz, Nabucco at Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the Opéra de Lille, Madama Butterfly at Staatstheater Stuttgart, Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Opéra de Marseille, Simon Boccanegra in Dijon, Anna Bolena in Lausanne, as well as concerts in Gothenburg and Avignon.

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli has recorded for Sony and a recording for Warner is following soon. Furthermore, the productions of Adriana Lecouvreur performed at the Teatro alla Scala, as well as La Rondine at Deutsche Oper Berlin are available on DVD.


More photos

See also

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem – Tamara Wilson, Alisa Kolosova, Dimitri Pittas, Morris Robinson, BBC Proms Youth Choir, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Marin Alsop

Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem – Michèle Crider, Markella Hatziano, Gabriel Sadé, Robert Lloyd, London Symphony Chorus & Orcherstra, Richard Hickox (Audio video)

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

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