Carlo Maria Giulini performed Verdi's Requiem frequently in the 1960s, making two recordings for the BBC and one for EMI. The latter is the most famous, but the two BBC recordings are arguably superior performances. At the time this recording was made, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus must have known the Requiem as well as any performers on the planet. I think that they can barely be faulted. The pronunciation of the chorus is a bit too English, but how often do you hear a choir with diction so good that you can criticize their pronunciation? The three sets of soloists with whom Giulini recorded this work in the Sixties were all fine. On the EMI recording, Ludwig is the jewel and Schwarzkopf the Achilles' heel, relatively speaking. The BBC recordings have no weak links, even though, today, their personnel are not nearly so well known as they deserve to be. Ilva Ligabue sings beautifully and handles the exposed sections of the "Libera me, Domine" very well. Sandor Konya can't quite match Bjoerling in the tenor role and may be slightly shaded by Gedda on Giulini's EMI recording, but his performance here is a memorial to an unjustly overlooked talent. No other country can produce great basses the way Bulgaria does and Raffaele Arie (Italian name notwithstanding) is an excellent proof of that. Best of the soloists, though, is Grace Bumbry. I have known and adored this music for more than twenty years, but my jaw hit the floor when I first heard Grace Bumbry's singing here; it is matchlessly beautiful. I honestly do not believe that I have ever heard singing more lovely, not just of this work, but of anything. Many mezzo-sopranos have trouble with this music, because they can reach the high notes, but not the low ones, or vice versa, or, if they can cope with the full range, they need an audible gear-change between the lower and higher registers. Not so Grace Bumbry; her tone is flawless throughout and her reach sounds effortless. It is miraculous singing. As I mentioned before, Christa Ludwig's excellence is the outstanding attraction of Giulini's EMI recording. Grace Bumbry excels Christa Ludwig and I can't think of higher praise than that. The recording is mono, as against stereo for both the EMI recording and the (earlier) BBC one. As it happens, the usually outstanding EMI sound engineers had something of an off-day with the Requiem, despite the advantages of the recording venue. Conversely, the BBC's recording, in the notorious Royal Festival Hall acoustic, is very pleasing. This is beautiful music, exquisitely performed.