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Salzburger Volksblatt - Salzburg - performance date April 13, 1976


Nothing human was foreign to his nature

Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem at the Festival Hall: Applause for a great performance

English Translation © Maria Kozlova

It is the third time Herbert von Karajan puts a great Requiem in his Easter program: this year after Mozart and Brahms' compositions the Requiem of Verdi is on the Festival playbill. It was brilliantly performed on stage Tuesday and will be played again tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday.


With this dramatic kind of music one can say the concert hall becomes a real stage, for Verdi considered theater reality, and not appearance.  Art meant veracity to him. One cannot quote Verdi's words enough, which he placed over the door of his estate Le Roncole: "I am human. Nothing human is foreign to my nature." One should always remember that Verdi was son of a village shop-keeper (or "Dorfgreißler", village grocer), and thanks to his talent and diligence, like old textbooks say, made his way in the world; that he soon married and had two children. Wife and children died: "I will not write a single note, I just can't!" Later he wrote many more notes, thanks God.  Operas of genius. And for his late friend poet Manzoni he wrote his Requiem.


This music is full of terrible fear and lament, more of this world than of that, of felt and true despair, and also hope a human cannot live without, and submissiveness to fate. The end is no mere melody, it is a word spoken with faith: "Requiem aeternam dona..."


Karajan makes the passion of human feelings rage through the orchestra; it is amazing how the Berliner Philarmoniker, in spite of all "Dies Irae" volume, retain the beauty of sound, which is then so comforting in many piano nuances of soloists. The Choir of the Vienna Music Lovers Society under Helmuth Froschauer mastered their task brilliantly. The quartette of famous soloists was not quite homogeneous, yet each of them was impressive: Montserrat Caballé, Fiorenza Cossotto, José Carreras, José van Dam. A squad of highest quality stars! And the work, Verdi's Requiem, is worth them.

B. Helm