MOZART: Ave Verum Corpus; Requiem in D Minor – Soloists/ Chorus de l’ORTF/Orchestre Nat. de l’ORTF/Josef Krips – Cascavelle

by | Aug 9, 2011 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

MOZART: Ave Verum Corpus in D Major, K. 618; Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 – Agnes Giebel, soprano/Marga Hoeffgen, mezzo-soprano/Hans-Ulrich Mielsch, tenor/Boris Carmeli, bass/Chorus de l’ORTF/Orchestre National de l’ORTF/Josef Krips – Cascavelle VEL 3156, 57:00 [Distr. By Albany] ****:
Volume 3 of the Josef Krips Edition offers his work in Mozart, but from France rather than his wonted Vienna or the Concertgebouw.  Krips performs (2 December 1965) the 1791 motet in D Major “Ave Verum Corpus” in ardently subdued tones, the 46-measure celebration of the Feast of Corpus Chrsti a miniature gem in the composer’s serene, Masonic spirit. It was in April 1965 that Josef Krips led the first San Francisco performance.
Krips approaches the Requiem less for its tragic nuances than for its inspired sense of valediction–an acceptance of Death as a deliverer–the force of which emerges late in the procession, as at the beginning of the Offertory, with a sanguine reading of the Domine Jesu and a no less inflamed realization of the second half–with muted brass–of the Hostias et preces tibi.   Of course, we cannot well distinguish where the unfinished torso of original Mozart ends and the work of Franz Xaver Suessmayr begins, who claimed to have composed the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. Suessmayr took the last cadence of the deliberately archaic Kyrie–a double fugue in a learned style Mozart admired in Bach–for the conclusion to the entire work. Krips is particularly effective in the opening of Introitus, which uses a plainchant that shares with Bach a melodic line that Baroque master utilized in his Magnificat. Giebel’s voice–often employed in Bach cantatas by various conductors–provides sweet consolation in the Lux aeterna, whose references to the opening of the Requiem again evoke aesthetic pleasure and pain. Basso Boris Carmeli is new to me, but his Tuba mirum has girth and clear diction. 
What engages us in this Krips rendition is the gracious and gentle tenor of the entire performance. Even the Dies Irae does not play for the terrors of eternal punishment but accentuates the illumination of dire spiritual possibilities.  Grandeur softened by serenity and tenderness–wouldn’t that have been Mozart’s perspective on a lovable but flawed Mankind for whom he had so much forgiveness?  The unison clapping by the French audience says much about the reception of the Krips vision of this darkly evocative masterpiece.
–Gary Lemco

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