Requiem (completed Süssmayr)
Golda Schultz (soprano), Katrin Wundsam (mezzo-soprano), Martin Mitterrutzner (tenor), Nahuel di Pierro (bass); Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino/Stefano Montenari
Dynamic CDS7932 43:26 mins
When Stefano Montanari, the erstwhile leader of the period instrument Accademia Bizantina, made his Covent Garden debut in 2019 conducting Mozart’s Così fan tutte, he divided the critics. This account of the Requiem will probably do likewise. His early music hinterland is immediately apparent in the lively tempos and the relish with which hard timpani sticks can lend a little Don Giovanni-esque brimstone when required. But briskness can trespass into brusqueness, and he paints with a broad brush that engages with the text at an often-perfunctory level (the angular acerbities of the ‘Confutatis’ are scarcely assuaged by the usually ameliorating ‘voca me’).
In going for the dramatic jugular – with a sense that Cherubini is looking over his shoulder – Montanari predictably secures a fevered panic at the start of the Dies Irae, and the fervour of the Sanctus’s opening can’t be gainsaid (even if the Benedictus proves rather unremitting); but there are moments of rhythmic sloppiness, and the Kyrie threatens to skid out of control in places.
Generally sound, the solo quartet is nonetheless a little sparing with light and shade, though bass Nahuel di Pierro rises majestically to the Tuba mirum. At just 43 minutes and no texts, a package, in short, that short-changes on several levels.