Mozart – Requiem

Various; Chorwerk Ruhr; Concerto Köln/Florian Helgath (Coviello)

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COV92009_Mozart

Mozart
Requiem (Completion by Michael Ostrzyga)
Gabriela Scherer, Anke Vondung, Tilman Lichdi, Tobias Berndt; Chorwerk Ruhr; Concerto Koln/Florian Helgath
Coviello COV92009   51:02 mins

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Every so often someone else has a go at completing Mozart’s Requiem. Mozart left quite a lot of the vocal parts in draft (though nothing for the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei sections), and some sketches. Mozart’s assistant Süssmayer did his best to complete the orchestral parts. Now Michael Ostrzyga has revised or abandoned much of the orchestral writing and composed a long extension to a fragmentary Amen which is now placed after the Lacrimosa.

The conductor Florian Helgath keeps his performers alert and rhythmically crisp, partly by imposing a slightly staccato style (in the Introit) together with a disciplined blend (as in the Hostias movement). Sometimes the balance seems awry, as in the Confutatis where the loud, surly bass line completely swamps the tweeting pianissimos of the sopranos. In the Recordare the soloists interact well, though their unfocused vocal production can produce a slight ‘wobble’, and more might have been made of the exquisite suspensions.

The last track gives us a valuable bonus – the graveside movement, Libera me, composed by Ignaz von Seyfried for the funeral of Beethoven in 1827, but which he later stipulated should be used for the ending of Mozart’s Requiem.

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Anthony Pryer