Tim Ashley 

Verdi: Requiem; Rossini: Overtures – review

This live recording from 1960 is one of the great interpretations – and an immensely moving experience, writes Tim Ashley
  
  

Born in Kiev, but brought up in western Europe, the composer and conductor Igor Markevitch visited Moscow in 1960 for a series of concerts with the Philharmonic, among which was this performance of Verdi's Requiem, which was an unknown quantity in the Soviet Union at the time. I'm unfamiliar with the studio recording of the work made by Phillips a year later with the same forces: the live version, though, is one of the great interpretations, intensely felt and marvellously acute in its understanding of the balance between the score's devotional and dramatic elements. The playing and choral singing are frighteningly committed, while the soloists are led by the legendary soprano Galina Vishnevskaya and bass Ivan Petrov. The heavyweight tenor, Vladimir Ivanovsky, won't be to everyone's taste, and there are a couple of moments of precarious ensemble, though they don't detract from what is an immensely moving experience. The filler, meanwhile, is a selection of Rossini overtures recorded in Paris in 1957, done with bags of energy and impeccable wit.