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<<  -- 3 --  David Wilkins    SONICALLY BRILLIANT

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The great 'Judex Crederis' finale is the kind of triumph of engineering that invites you to warn the neighbours and turn-up the volume to best effect. It is, perhaps, not quite as spine-chilling as might be at first, but certainly grows into a fantastic affirmative paean of organ, brass, drums and choral incisiveness that should shake the soul as much as your loudspeakers [listen -- track 7, 9:33-10:30].

This recording is unique in including the two movements which Berlioz wrote specifically for military or otherwise celebratory performances. They are a welcome and delightful addition in terms of music that utilizes most instruments that could be blown and struck and even plucked (there are, according to the documentation, twelve harps if you have the ears to count them!) at the time. They don't, however, constitute the great music which the 'Te Deum' surely is.

I have long loved this music -- particularly on the basis of Claudio Abbado's live 1982 reading from St. Alban's Cathedral (on DG). His tempi are consistently a shade faster and all the better for that, and Francisco Araiza is, on no measure, inferior to Roberto Alagna. This new version may have preferable sound and be an entirely involving performance but doesn't quite persuade me to change my first preference from the earlier recording.

Copyright © 20 May 2001 David Wilkins, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK

 

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