About this Recording
8.110159 - VERDI: Requiem (Gigli) (1939)
English 

Verdi completed his Requiem Mass in April 1874 and it was first performed in May that year at the Church of San Marco in Milan. The origin of the work may be found in Verdi’s suggested composite Requiem for Rossini, who had died in 1868. He proposed that a number of composers should join together to offer a national tribute and this was duly organized, with Verdi himself providing the Libera me. In the end, however, the project came to nothing, although the composers who had agreed to contribute duly completed their tasks. Verdi had stipulated that the work should make no commercial profit and that the music should not be performed again, a gesture that he himself could now well afford. It was the death of the writer Alessandro Manzoni in 1873 that prompted Verdi to the completion of the task of setting the Requiem, urged on by his publisher. Unlike Manzoni, Verdi was relatively liberal in his religious opinions, but his setting of the Requiem Mass is, nevertheless, deeply religious in feeling. There were critics who found the work too theatrical, as might have been expected from the leading composer of Italian opera. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, at its first performance in Milan given in commemoration of Manzoni, with a ‘dry’ Mass (a Mass without the Consecration), makes use of the dramatic resources necessary for a setting of the Dies irae, with its visions of the Day of Judgement, and in the Lacrymosa makes use of music originally intended for the opera Don Carlo. It won immediate international success in church and theatre performances, only failing to fill the new Albert Hall in London, where the occasion might have seemed altogether too Catholic. By the 1930s, however, it had become a standard element of choral repertoire.

The Rome Opera House recording is a remarkable and dramatic one, evoking vivid memories of its first release. Above all it called on the services of an unrivalled quartet of soloists, with the formidable opera chorus and orchestra, directed by Tullio Serafin, who had returned from a ten-year stint at the Metropolitan Opera in 1934 to direct the Teatro Reale in Rome, retaining his position there until 1943. Maria Caniglia, the soprano soloist, was born in Naples in 1905 and studied there at the Conservatorio S Pietro a Maiella. She made her début in 1930 in Turin in Richard Strauss’s opera Elektra and in the same year appeared at La Scala, Milan, in Ildebrando Pizzetti’s Lo straniero, continuing her association with that house until 1943 and returning after the war until 1951. She died in Rome in 1979. The mezzo-soprano Ebe Stignani was born in Naples in 1903 and studied there, before making her operatic début at the S Carlo in 1925 as Amneris in Verdi’s Aida. Her first appearance at La Scala took place the following year, when, at Toscanini’s invitation, she sang the rôle of Eboli in Don Carlo, continuing to take leading mezzo rôles in a wide operatic repertoire, as in Verdi’s Requiem, where her power and authority are well displayed. Beniamino Gigli, the tenor who succeeded Caruso in popular estimation, was born in 1890 in Recanati, where he was a cathedral chorister. His career began in 1914 with triumph in a singing competition in Parma. It was under Tullio Serafin in Bologna in 1915 that he drew attention as Faust in Boito’s Mefistofele, a rôle repeated at La Scala in 1918 and in 1920 at the New York Metropolitan Opera, a house with which he continued until 1932, thereafter further pursuing a very successful international career. He retired in 1956 and died in Rome the following year. His performance in Verdi’s Requiem allows him to deploy all his dramatic resources, from his first Kyrie eleison to the pleading of Quid sum miser and the characteristic portamento and sob in his singing of the Ingemisco. Ezio Pinza, born in Rome in 1892, studied in Bologna and made his début in 1914 at Soncino as Oroveso in Norma. He appeared under Toscanini at La Scala in the 1920s and began his association with the Metropolitan Opera in 1926, continuing to appear there until 1948, undertaking, in his international career, the principal bass rôles of Italian repertoire. He died in America, where he had also appeared on Broadway in later years, in 1959.

 

Messa da Requiem

 

[1] Introit and Kyrie

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.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

(Eternal rest grant them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

A hymn, O God, is fitting for you in Sion,

and a vow shall be paid to you in Jerusalem.

Hear my prayer,

to you all flesh shall come.

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.)

 

Sequence

[2] Dies irae

Dies irae, dies illa,

solvet saeclum in favilla,

teste David cum Sybilla.

(Day of wrath, that dreaded day,

the world shall melt in ashes,

as David and the Sybil foretold.)

Quantus tremor est futurus,

quando judex est venturus

cuncta stricte discussurus!

(What trembling there will be,

when the judge shall come

dealing strictly with everything!)

 

[3] Tuba mirum

Tuba mirum spargens sonum,

per sepulchra regionum,

coget omnes ante thronum,

(The trumpet scattering wonderful sound,

through earth’s sepulchres,

shall bring all before the throne.)

Mors stupebit et natura,

cum resurget creatura,

judicanti responsura.

(Death will stand stupefied and nature

when the created shall rise

to answer to the one that judges.)

 

[4] Liber scriptus

Liber scriptus proferetur,

in quo totum continetur,

unde mundus judicetur..

(The book written shall be brought out,

in which all is contained

by which the world shall be judged)

Judex ergo cum sedebit,

quidquid latet apparebit,

nil inultum remanebit.

(The judge, then, shall take his seat,

whatever was hidden shall be revealed,

nothing shall remain unavenged.)

 

[5] Quid sum miser

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus,

quem patronum rogaturus,

cum vix justus sit securus?

(What am I , wretched man, to say,

whom ask to intercede,

when the just man is barely safe?)

 

[6] Rex tremendae

Rex tremendae majestatis,

qui salvandos salvas gratis,

salva me, fons pietatis.

(King of fearful majesty,

who grants salvation to those to be saved,

save me, fount of mercy.)

 

[7] Recordare

Recordare Jesu pie,

quod sum causa tuae viae;

ne me perdas illa die.

(Remember, merciful Jesus,

that I am the reason for your life;

do not destroy me on that day.)

Quaerens me sedisti lassus,

redemisti crucem passus;

tantus labor non sit cassus.

(Seeking me, you lived in weariness,

suffered the cross and redeemed me;

let such labour not be in vain.)

Juste judex ultionis,

donum fac remissionis,

ante diem rationis.

(Just judge of vengeance,

grant me remission,

before the day of reckoning.)

 

[8] Ingemisco

Ingemisco tanquam reus,

culpa rubet vultus meus;

supplicanti parce, Deus.

(I groan as a sinner,

my face blushes with guilt;

spare the suppliant, O God.)

Qui Mariam absolvisti,

et latronem exaudisti;

mihi quoque spem dedisti.

(You who absolved Mary

and heard the thief;

you gave hope too to me.)

Preces meae non sunt dignae,

sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,

ne perenni cremer igne.

(My prayers are unworthy,

but you, I goodness, act kindly,

so that I do not burn in eternal fire.)

Inter oves locum praesta,

et ab hoedis me sequestra,

statuens in parte dextra.

(Grant me a place among the sheep,

and separate me from the goats,

putting me at your right hand.)

 

[9] Confutatis

Confutatis maledictis,

flammis acribus addictis,

voca me cum benedictis.

(Let the cursed ones be confounded,

committed to harsh flames,

call me among the blessed.)

Oro supplex et acclinis,

cor contritum quasi cinis

gere curam mei finis.

(I beg you, suppliant, bowing down,

my contrite heart like ashes,

care for me at my ending.)

Dies irae, etc.

(Day of wrath, etc.)

 

[10] Lacrymosa

Lacrymosa dies illa,

qua resurget ex favilla

judicandus homo reus.

(Tearful, that day

on which shall rise from the ash

guilty man, to be judged.)

Huic ergo parce Deus, ,

pie Jesu Domine,

dona eis requiem.

Amen.

(Therefore, O God, spare this man

O merciful Lord Jesus,

grant them rest,

Amen.)

Offertory

 

[11] Domine Jesu Christe

Domine Jesu Christe, rex gloriae

libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum

de poenis inferni et de profundo lacu.

(Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,

deliver the souls of all the faithful departed

from the punishments of Hell and from the deep pit.)

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.

(Deliver them from the lion’s mouth,

lest Hell engulf them,

lest they fall into the darkness:

but may holy Michael, the standard-bearer,

bring them into the holy light

that you once promised to Abraham

and to his descendants.)

 

[12] Hostias

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,

laudis offerimus.

Tu suscipe pro animabus illis,

quarum hodie memoriam facimus

fac eas, Domine,

de morte transire ad vitam,

quam olim Abrahae promisisti

et semini ejus.

(Sacrifices and prayers of praise, O Lord,

we offer you.

Accept them for those souls

that we remember today;

see to it, O Lord,

that they cross from death to the life

that you once promised to Abraham

and to his descendants.)

 

[13] Sanctus

Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth,

pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

(Holy Lord God of Sabaoth,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.)

Hosanna in excelsis!

Benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domini.

(Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.)

Hosanna in excelsis!

(Hosanna in the highest!)

 

[14] Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei,

qui tollis peccata mundi,

dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei,

qui tollis peccata mundi,

dona eis requiem sempiternam.

(Lamb of God,

who takes away the sins of the world,

grant them rest.

Lamb of God,

who takes away the sins of the world,

grant them eternal rest.)

 

[15] Lux aeterna

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,

cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,

quia pius es.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat eis

cum sanctis tuis in aeternum:

quia pius es.

(May eternal light shine on them, O Lord,

with your saints to eternity,

for you are merciful.

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine on them

with your saints to eternity,

for you are merciful.)

Libera me

 

[16] Libera me

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna,

in die illa tremenda, quando coeli

movendi sunt et terra.

(Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death,

on that fearful day, when the heavens

and earth are to be shaken.)

Libera me, etc.

(Deliver me, etc.)

Dum veneris judicare saeculum

per ignem.

(And you will come to judge the world

by fire.)

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo,

dum discussio venerit

atque ventura ira.

(I tremble and am afraid

when the judgement shall come

and that future anger.)

Quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.

(When the heavens and earth are shaken.)

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo.

(I tremble and am afraid.)

 

[17] Dies irae

Dies irae, dies illa

calamitatis et miseriae,

dies magna et amara valde.

Dum veneris judicare saeculum

per ignem.

(Day of anger, that day

of calamity and misery,

an awe-inspiring and very bitter day.

When you will come to judge the world

by fire.)

 

[18] Requiem aeternam

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

(Eternal rest grant them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine on them.)

 

[19] Libera me

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna,

in die illa tremenda, quando coeli

movendi sunt et terra.

Dum veneris judicare saeculum

per ignem.

(Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death,

on that fearful day, when the heavens

and earth are to be shaken.

And you will come to judge the world

by fire.)

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna,

in die illa tremenda.

(Deliver me, O Lod, from eternal death,

on that fearful day.)

Libera me.

(Deliver me.)


Close the window