MOZART: Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 (Robert D. Levin Edition) – Christine Brewer, soprano/ Ruxandra Donose, mezzo-soprano/ John Tessier, tenor/ Eric Owens, bass/ Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus/ Donald Runnicles – Telarc

by | Oct 31, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

MOZART: Requiem in  D Minor, K. 626 (Robert D. Levin
Edition) – Christine Brewer, soprano/ Ruxandra Donose, mezzo-soprano/
John Tessier, tenor/ Eric Owens, bass/ Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and
Chamber Chorus/ Donald Runnicles – Telarc MultiChannel SACD
60636,  46:51 ***:

Musicologist Robert D. Levin made his own working version of Mozart’s
incomplete Requiem Mass in 1993, retaining those additions made by
Mozart’s friend Suessmayr which conform to idiomatic Mozart practice,
but at several places reducing the orchestration in order to permit
better access to the vocal parts, even dropping the instruments
entirely at some cadences. The fugal sections receive considerable
adjustment, as in the extension of the Hosanna fugues, placing the
second fugue in a related key. Levin provides a large fugue at “Amen”
after the Lacrimosa, utilizing an original Mozart sketch which
Suessmayr had ignored.  Where Suessmayr employed two stark chords,
Levin gives us a fairly audacious fugue; now, we have five extended
liturgical sections, each of which ends in a fugue, which is more in
keeping with Austrian church practice of Mozart’s time.

Recorded January 29-30, 2005 in the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, the
Telarc Requiem purports to be a more transparent, stylistic Mozart than
we have been accustomed to for the past two hundred years. The surround
sound audio format contributes to our appreciation of the more open,
delineated instrumental and voice parts, with the separation of
trombone and bass for the portentous Tuba mirum and the striking
dissonances and motet ambiance of the Confutatis. This movement does,
in fact, convey a mysterious, almost dreadful intimacy, as does the
mournful affecting Lacrymosa which leads to a newly-scored Amen. The
ensuing Offertory opens with a brisk, almost galloping Domine Jesu, the
quartet’s heartily intoning St. Michael’s delivering the faithful from
darkness and into the holy light. Some may find Levin’s scoring of the
Hostias a bit Brahmsian, but the devotional atmosphere is authentic
enough, ushering in the virtuoso coloratura vocal writing of the
Sanctus-Benedictus and Agnus Dei – Communion portions of the mass. All
very exalted, exquisitely intelligent and tasteful; but, at barely 47
minutes of music, I cannot fathom why Telarc and these same, gifted
forces could not indulge us with Mozart’s Exsultate and assorted
liturgical works to fill out this otherwise lovely disc.

–Gary Lemco

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