MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Bruno MADERNA (1920-1973)
(1946) [59:53]
Diana Tomsche (soprano)
Kathrin Göring (contralto)
Bernhard Berchtold (tenor)
Renatus Mészár (bass)
MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig/Bart van Reyn
Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beermann
rec. 9 September 2013, Stadthalle, Chemnitz.
CAPRICCIO C5231 [59:53]

This release is quite a discovery, not only in the sense of the history of its score but in the nature of the music that unfolds before us. Bruno Maderna’s Requiem was considered lost for many years. Maderna fought as a partisan during WWII and was taken prisoner by the SS. About this experience the composer later said “at that moment it was the only possibility to write a requiem and then to die.” Subsequent hopes of a performance in the US never materialised, and the score ended up in the Library of Purchase College of New York. It was eventually premiered in the Teatro la Fenice in Venice in November 2009 – around 36 years after Maderna’s death.

Maderna saw this Requiem as a milestone in his compositional development, but those of us who know his music from the avant-garde Darmstadt school will be surprised to hear the work open with that most tonal of perfect intervals, an open fifth. The first sections are indeed quite romantic in style, and the booklet notes suggests that an intensive study of examples by Giuseppe Verdi and Hector Berlioz will have had a strong influence. Closer to the surface are the sounds of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and the harmonies of Hindemith. While certain passages and the sonorities of the often sparing instrumental accompaniment give rise to similarities there are however relatively few places that clearly refer to other music.

After the gentler Requiem and Kyrie eleison more dramatic effects and musical extremes are reserved for the massive Dies irae that makes up the bulk of Part One. After Maderna’s experiences this could hardly be anything other than a ‘War Requiem’, and the work is nothing short of a pacifist manifesto with an impact comparable to Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. Part Two opens with hefty bell-like chords for the Domine Jesu, with the light and dark of female and male voices playing against each other, the Sanctus opening out into a massed crowd of angels. The Benedictus opens with an eloquent orchestral section, the words taken by the soprano soloist. There are some magical moments in the Agnus Dei which breaks out halfway into a lilting tune of disarming naivety – this is most certainly a work filled with surprises. The descending lines of the Lux aeterna embody a kind of eternal procession of grief shot through with defiance, while the final Libera me is by no means an upbeat conclusion, its intensity gradually diffusing into a silence shaped by that single trombone, the recurring beat of a drum, and a halo of lonely strings.

This live recording is pretty good, with a few distant noises from the audience but nothing too serious. Presentation for the release is also fine, though texts are given in Latin and German but not with an English translation. The performance is passionate and the solo voices tend to crowd out the orchestra here and there but in general the balance is effective in delivering the moods and wide contrasts in this remarkable piece. The soloists are all good enough though I wouldn’t point out anyone as uniquely outstanding. I’m sure on this showing that this is a work which, if not likely to enter core repertoire, has a fair chance of being recorded more than once now it has finally seen the light of day.

Dominy Clements



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1