- Missa pro defunctis, for soloists, chorus & orchestra in B flat major, MH 838 (KL 1:26) (incomplete)
- God is our refuge, motet for chorus, K. 20
- Misericordias Domini, offertory for chorus & orchestra, K. 222 (K. 205a)
- Venite populi, offertory for chorus & orchestra, K. 260 (K. 248a)
- Ave verum Corpus, motet for chorus, strings & organ, K. 618
Most music lovers are familiar with the story of Mozart's "Requiem," or at least some version of it, most likely that as transmitted in the film Amadeus. Comparatively few would be aware that similarly, death claimed Mozart's closest friend among composers, Michael Haydn, with a "Requiem" sitting on his desk, the ink yet wet on the page, but the end nowhere in sight. Haydn's "Requiem in B flat major" was not even as far along as Mozart's was, consisting of only the opening "Requiem" aeternam, Kyrie, and a few measures of the Dies Irae, about 13 minutes of music for a service that normally lasts close to an hour. Helmuth Rilling, it should be mentioned, has previously recorded this "Requiem" in the form that it is left to us. Thankfully Haydn had composed an earlier "Requiem" in 1771, the so-called "Schattenbach Requiem," that was used to fill in for the remainder of the mass when it was performed at Haydn's own funeral service in 1706. Jump cut ahead 33 years, and one finds provincial Biedermeier master Gunther Kronecker deciding to do the departed composer a favor by completing the work in "Haydn's spirit and style, with which Gunther was familiar." This is what is represented in Carus Verlag's SACD Johann Michael Haydn: Requiem in B, featuring the KammerChor Saarbrücken under Georg Grün and a stellar rank of soloists. The performance is prepared from the edition that Carus has published of this "Requiem," as is typical with its releases, being the recording arm of a publishing concern located in Germany. From the start, one can easily see why it would be desirable for the younger Haydn's late "Requiem" to come to full liturgical bloom, as it begins so winningly. It opens with a widely spaced chord that spreads out, surprisingly, into a tritone leap in an 11th apart, and gradually works into a "galant fugue," a highly unusual idea that, owing to Haydn's contrapuntal skill, works out beautifully. Once Haydn's 13 minutes are up and Kronecker's 34 begin, it is a whole new ballgame. Kronecker filled out the remaining movements utilizing Haydn's earlier "Requiem," Mozart's "Requiem" (which Haydn himself seems to have been referring to in writing the original piece) and a "Requiem" once thought to belong to Haydn but now known to have been written by his contemporary Georg Pasterwiz. Given his Biedermeier heritage and limited skill set, Kronecker managed to produce a pastiche of Haydn's "Requiem" that is markedly inferior in comparison to the source work, and does not sound like Haydn's "spirit and style" at all. Some parts of it are hysterically funny, particularly the "Confutatis" that Kronecker modeled from Mozart. While Mozart's harmonic underpinnings are utilized, the texture is reset with foursquare rhythms, unimaginative vocal entrances, and stale melodic ideas, educating us as to how Mozart might have sounded if he had not been a genius. The disc is filled out with four brief choral works of Mozart, ranging from "God is Our Refuge, KV 20," written when he was nine, to his last sacred piece, "Ave verum corpus, KV 618." They're okay, but performance-wise this Carus disc is somewhat below its typical standard; while the soloists in the "Requiem" are very good, even when singing badly composed music, the chorus really isn't that sharp, particularly the women, and there seems to be no consensus among them as to how to pronounce consonants. The chorus sounds mushy and indistinct, despite the fact that this is an SACD. However, this Haydn "Requiem" will make for a great party record for your friends who are savvy with eighteenth century sacred music, so in the end it isn't all bad, eh?