Maurice Duruflé: Requiem
I’ve sung this work many times as the baritone soloist, but perhaps it’s time to come clean: I’m always envious of the mezzo-soprano I’m singing with because she gets the best piece in the work. This recording of Janet Baker singing the Pie Jesu is the definitive recording in my opinion
Johannes Brahms: A German Requiem
Brahms went to great lengths to say that his Requiem was not a religious work, but instead a work for the people and for a nation. Elizabeth Schwarzkopf is also one of my favourite Sopranos, and the way she soars through these beautiful high lines in this recording from the 1950s is singing that we don’t hear any more today.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem
It’s clichéd isn’t it? But this truly is one of the great masterworks of Western art. Did you know Schubert asked for this at his own requiem, not quite 25 years after it was written? I’ve sung the solo many times, but on this recording, you can hear me in the bass section of Cantillation, in a recording made on period instruments with the Orchestra of the Antipodes for the ABC some years ago.
Guiseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem
Verdi was an atheist, and so his Requiem is really just a great opera under the guise of religious work. The Libera Me for soprano is one of the most sublime pieces of Verdi ever wrote. And that top pianissimo B-flat? Well, I’ve got no words for such beauty.
Benjamin Britten: War Requiem
A work so deeply human and of our time, this work took a few years for me to appreciate because up until that point I knew only Britten as an opera composer. But like all great things in life, a little perseverance goes a long way, and it is now on my favourite works.
David Greco performs Britten’s Cantanta Misericordium with Omega Ensemble and The Australian Voice on 5 November at City Recital Hall. See here for performance details.