Album review: Antonio Pappano, Sacred Verdi (Warner Classics)


Shifting attention momentarily from Verdi's operas, Antonio Pappano and the orchestra and chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia here focus on the composer's religious works, mostly drawn from late in his career. It's a smoothly-sequenced set, opening with the hushed, austere pieties of the acappella “Ave Maria”, a choral work set around an unorthodox scale, before moving into the impassioned, majestic tragedy of “Stabat Mater”, which nonetheless retains a certain pious reserve despite the large forces involved. Closing the album is “Libera Me”, originally intended as Verdi's part of a collaborative mass commemorating Rossini - an idea abandoned for financial reasons.

Download: Ave Maria; Stabat Mater; Libera Me