CHERUBINI:  Requiem in C Minor.  Marche fun╦bre.
Gruppo Vocale Cantemus/Coro and Orchestra della radio Svizzera Italiana/Diego Fasolis, cond.

NAXOS 8.554749  (B) (DDD) TT:  55:35
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It's a curious footnote to music history that while Beethoven, Brahms and Berlioz highly praised the Requiem in c minor of Luigi Cherubini, their large concert requiem masses have become standard repertoire whereas Cherubini's has not. Some say Cherubini's music is a mixture of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert minus the drama. That seems like an oversimplified generalization and unfair dismissal.

Based this CD of Cherubini's 1816 masterpiece, perhaps the absence of dramatic if not passionate outbursts (Berlioz and Beethoven) or rhapsodic emotion (Brahms) have limited its recognition and popularity. Or maybe the absence of any vocal arias is a drawback .

And that's a pity, because the work contains much to absorb and enjoy such as interesting dialogues between sopranos and basses in the "Dies Irae," the dark and intense homophonic choral writing in the opening "Kyrie," Cherubini's often (and effective) use of brass choirs, the flowing "Requiem aeternam," and the simple yet moving "Pie Jesu"

The Coro della Radio Svizzera Italiana and Gruppo Vocale Cantemus emphasize the important inner voices while maintaining the Requiem"s understated strength. That same attention to detail by the responsive Orchestra della Radio Svizzera Italiana conducted by Diego Fasolis energizes and enhances the music. Recommended.

K.S. (Sept. 2000)