Mozart: Requiem Naxos 8.557728
Miriam Allen [soprano], Anne Butler [mezzo-soprano], Marcus Ullmann [tenor], Martin snell [bass], Gewandhus Chamber Choir, Leipzig Chamber Orchestra, conductor – Morten Schuldt-Jensen
Surely, even the greenest classical music fan will know that Mozart’s death is surrounded by mystery and conspiracy theory. Some will also know that he is supposed to have been instructed to compose his own requiem mass by some sort of apparition. We will probably never know the truth about these things, at least until time travel is mastered and even then it will be a shame to debunk such powerful mythology.
Nevertheless, it is a truism that this music is among the most universally acclaimed in any genre. Despite the fact that poor Wolfgang did not complete his appointed task himself, it did eventually turn out very well thanks to the consummate skill of F X Sussmayr.
It is not necessary to comment on the composition, it being so widely known and appreciated, but I have to say that once again Naxos has gathered together a fine ensemble of performers and technicians to produce a CD which is well up to their usual very high standard.. I would therefore have no hestation in recommending this recording to anyone seeking their first version of the Requiem, and I am sure that long-time fans of the piece will be more than pleased to add this one to their collections.
The disc is completed with 2 offertory choruses – Inter natos mulierum and Misericordias Domini, neither of which I was previously acquainted with. They are both excellent works, the second of which seems to contain an air that Beethoven may well have been interested in!
This being Naxos’s release of the month in this their 18th birthday year, there is a bonus disc thrown in for those quick enough off the mark to obtain a first pressing copy. It’s a brilliant compilation of 11 ‘Grand Choral Classics’ including the Hallelujah Chorus and Ode to Joy.
So my advice would be – if you’ve got a bit of spare pocket money burning a hole in your pocket , rush out and buy a copy now - you’ll get 2 great CDs and you’ll still have change from a fiver!