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James H North
Fanfare, February 2001

"Naxos is amazing! How do they keep coming up with such people: relative unknowns who deliver sterling performances? The one thing I have in common with Beethoven is that this Requiem is one of my favorite pieces; I have heard almost every recording. This one may not be the best - I reserve that honor for Matthew Best on Hyperion, with the same coupling - but it is unique. I am not a religious man, but these singers convince me that they are true believers. Cherubini's music, here and in other works, has been criticized as being cold and distant; you would never guess that from this glowing performance. If it is less impassioned than, say, Muti on EMI, its soft human warmth is eye- and ear-opening, ravishing mind and heart. Nevertheless, there is plenty of power in the Dies Irae, if not the last word in precision. Some unusual balances, among instruments and between orchestra and chorus, are so revealing that they must be intentional. A few vocal difficulties with tricky rhythms, mainly in the Offertorium, keep this recording at arm's length from perfection. Naxos manages cathedral acoustics ideally, achieving a beautiful resonance while muffling few details. If price is important to you, I have no hesitation in recommending this disc; if not, I urge it on you as a second recording, whatever your first."

David Hurwitz, August 2000

"Name a famous piece of music whose title begins with the letter "F", written by a composer whose last name begins with a "C", and whose opening features a tam-tam crash followed by thudding drums. If you said Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, then you're--wrong! Well, you're right, actually, but this description applies equally to Luigi Cherubini's impressive Funeral March (okay, I cheated a little, because in French it's Marche funŠbre), a work that makes an excellent companion to the superb Requiem in C minor. Admired by virtually every composer in the 19th century, this masterpiece combines depth of feeling and a real sense of drama with classical poise and proportion. It's the finest work of its kind from the Classical era, far superior, for example, to Mozart's incomplete Requiem, and its current neglect is unaccountable....The chorus sings with fervor, achieving genuine expressive force in the Dies irae and the magnificent Agnus Dei, and it's backed both by a solid, positive orchestral contribution and warm recorded sound. You'll enjoy this disc, not least for the highly theatrical and melodramatic Funeral March with which we started."

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