Personally, the Requiem Mass is my favorite of all the masses - the passion, intensity, and emotion behind each movement is greater than any other piece of music. If you are new to the Requiem Mass, then this is the perfect place to start. Each Requiem is as unique as the composer. I've picked these Requiems based on popularity, and judged the albums based on four criteria: musical interpretation, quality of choir, quality of orchestra, and quality of soloist.
Finding a perfect recording of Brahms' Requiem is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I wasn't able to find a perfect recording (everyone's musical taste is different) - the soloists are a bit weak and the tempi for several movements are too slow for my liking. However, the album possesses a great choir and a great orchestra. Formally a member of the Westminster Choir, I can assure you that the hard work, dedication and attention to detail is extremely great.
If you saw X-Men 2, you heard Mozart's Requiem. In the opening scene with Nightcrawler in the White House the music being played is the Dies Irae
. I like Mozart's Requiem for its intensity. There is so much passion tightly contained within the "walls" of the classical period structure, you expect it to burst at any moment. I found that this recording greatly conveys that intensity.
Two great Requiems on one album - what more could you ask for? I personally love Fauré's Requiem. I believe it is the only Requiem that is so intimate with the listener. You feel as though it is being played just for you. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus is another choir you can trust. They sound spectacular. Duruflé's Requiem is one of my least favorites, but that doesn't mean the recording is bad. As I said before, it sounds spectacular.
When composing the Requiem Berlioz paid close attention to how he wanted to score the music - four brass orchestras at the mention of the last judgement and subtle, dramatic choral lines. The quality of this album, the professionalism, the understanding of the music is expertly portrayed once again by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choir. To truly appreciate the Requiem Mass in all of its glorious versions, you must own a copy of Berlioz's Grande Messe des morts
Verdi's Requiem has been described as his greatest opera. There is truth in that statement. Verdi masterfully writes to the extremes of damnation and salvation. Your heart will without a doubt beat to the rhythms in the Dies Irae
. This recording features Pavarotti and Marilyn Horne as the soloists - the quality of the performance is amazing. Verdi's Requiem was performed in honor of the terrible tragedy of the World Trade Center.
Britten's War Requiem is very different from the previous Requiems. It is a large scale work consisting of three soloists, chamber chorus and orchestra, boys choir, organ, and a main chorus and orchestra. The groups are usually split into three distinct sections. The soloists represent the victims of war and sing Owen's text, the chamber choir sings the liturgical Latin texts, and the boys choir sings distantly in the back of the stage. Britten's War Requiem is a must have.
This album won a Grammy Award in 2000. Performed by the world renowned Westminster Symphonic Choir, this album is of top quality. This rare piece of music should definitely be included in your music library. The album aslo includes a performance of Dvorák's Symphony no. 9.