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Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, November 2012

If ever there was a piece that would seem to demand the most up-to-date studio treatment, it is the Grande Messe des morts, yet the clarity and depth of this mono recording is marvellous.

…Dimitri Mitropoulos has really got into his stride. The chromatic string phrase with which Berlioz twice fools you into expecting the next section sends shivers down the spine; when the four supplementary brass ensembles finally enter, the effect is stupendous.

The hushed ending of the Agnus Dei sets the seal on a remarkable performance. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Paul E. Robinson
La Scena Musicale, November 2012

Devoted to Berlioz’s Requiem, a major work that Mitropoulos never recorded commercially, the performance is meticulously prepared, deeply affecting in the quieter moments and overwhelming in the great climaxes. The effect of the four brass groups positioned around the hall in the Dies Irae can hardly be captured on a recording but this one comes close. This is the sound of brass players bursting blood vessels to give Mitropoulos what he wanted, and I am sure he must have been pleased. The young Nicolai Gedda is a huge plus in the Sanctus… © 2012 La Scena Musicale Read complete review

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, July 2012

ICA unearths a rare, real treasure in the performance (26 August 1956) in Cologne, Germany of the 1837 Berlioz Requiem by Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960)…Mitropoulos’ natural fiery temperament coincides well with the music of Berlioz…

From the first, the hugely-mounted Cologne performance of the Berlioz Requiem evinces the Berlioz self-proclaimed requisites: “passionate expression, intense ardor, rhythmical animation, and unexpected turns.” The sheer scale of the Dies Irae cannot be contained by the standard mono CD medium, so vast are the sonic components of brass, strings, tympani, and choruses. The four corners of the earth announce the Day of Judgment, and apocalyptic does rage the mass of sound. The plaintive combination of two English horns, bassoons, and double basses and reduced men’s chorus provides an eerie aftermath to Judgment in the Quid sum miser, intimate but emotionally desolate. A huge “Rex!” ensues, with Mitropoulos’ urging some degree of optimism in the mixed chorus’ beseeching for Eternal mercy. A cappella, the Quarens me offers another plaintive moment of reflection, a moment Verdi would copy in the first of his own Four Sacred Pieces. The muted voices concluding the movement strike me as particularly effective.

With the 9/8 Lachyrmosa, we reach the convulsive center of the Requiem. Mitropoulos’ heated fervor in this movement makes us forget any sense of the sonata-form that would like to contain the anguish in convention. If a visual analogy can exist here, we would have to read sections from Dante, the added  brass and tympani’s contributing to a delirium, a paroxysm of penitence.

A Best of the Year entry, without a doubt! © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Robert Benson, June 2012

This issue of the Berlioz Requiem is particularly welcome. This CD was remastered from original master tapes and offers surprisingly good sound for its age—and it is a grand, dedicated performance. It is remarkable that producers were able to get the entire work on a single CD…This is an important issue, a memorial to a unique conductor who died in 1960 after performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in Cologne. © 2012 Read complete review

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