- Inter natos mulierum, offertory for chorus & orchestra, K. 72 (K. 74f)
- Misericordias Domini, offertory for chorus & orchestra, K. 222 (K. 205a)
- Requiem for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, K. 626
auto-inserted 09-17-2014 15:56:46
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It may be argued that, what with the pages of listings that come up when one searches a website for recordings of Mozart's "Requiem," the world was not in dire need of one more. But this recording from Germany's classical-music heartland city of Leipzig makes a strong contribution to the ongoing discourse surrounding this unique work, which Mozart left uncompleted during his final illness. It was finished by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr so that Mozart's wife, Constanze, could collect on the anonymous commission that had stimulated the composition of the work in the first place. Constanze, an acute observer of the rise of the Romantic spirit, later claimed that Mozart had written the "Requiem" because of a premonition of his own death, and many performances heavily dramatize the work's passages of tumultuous minor-key counterpoint. The Leipziger Kammerorchester (Leipzig Chamber Orchestra) and Gewandhaus Kammerchor (Gewandhaus Chamber Choir) under Morten Schuldt-Jensen aim to strip away some of the layers of historical narrative. The orchestra is of moderate size, inner lines and small details are sharply articulated, dynamic levels are kept moderate, and, most noticeably, tempos are extremely brisk -- the work comes in at just over 40 minutes, as compared with almost 50 in many other recordings. In general, the performance may be classed among those that use modern instruments but seek to incorporate the insights of the historical-performance movement (and the performers themselves state this as their aim). The approach results in many lovely moments. For example, the opening bass solo in the Tuba mirum movement, a duet with horn, takes on a nicely graceful, pastoral feeling. Whether the oomph is there for the big day-of-judgment movements is something the individual listener can decide through sampling; check also the almost boy-soprano-like voice of soprano Miriam Allan (she comes in about 25 seconds into the Benedictus, which was probably by Süssmayr working alone) to see whether it's to your liking; it certainly fits Schuldt-Jensen's overall conception well. Two early Mozart choral pieces, one of them (the "Misericordias Domini, K. 222" showcasing his thorough training in counterpoint) are included as curtain-raisers; they are relevant to the "Requiem," but might have been placed at the end instead.