LABELS: Arte Nova
WORKS: Requiem, K626
PERFORMER: Hiroko Kouda (soprano), Monika Waeckerle (mezzo-soprano), Patrizia Saudelli (tenor), Xiaoliang Li (bass), Richard Weiser (organ); Inntal Chorus, Erl Choral Society, Tirol Festival Orchestra/Gustav Kuhn
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 87073 2
Over recent years a number of editors have attempted new completions of Mozart’s Requiem, left a torso at his death in December 1791, though none has effectively displaced the standard version by his younger colleague and pupil Süssmayr. Gustav Kuhn’s performance, recorded live last July at a festival he has founded in Austria, registers as a good, honest, no-frills account, with decent soloists though the occasional rough moment. The recorded sound is thick, if paradoxically without much body to it, but Kuhn’s sense of drama is real and the solemnity of the piece comes over despite occasional stodginess.
In Christoph Spering’s account the unusual scoring of the piece benefits from period instruments and the conductor’s clean and energised approach, even though some of his tempi (the Kyrie, marked Allegro, for instance) are extremely deliberate. The soloists have superior voices to Kuhn’s, and the disc has been filled up with the fragments of the Requiem performed exactly as Mozart left them, before Süssmayr was engaged to fill in the gaps and write the missing sections. They turn out to be fascinating, particularly in the way that Mozart’s draft records so precisely the essential musical ideas that in many instances he did not live to develop or flesh out. From a plethora of alternatives, that conducted by Peter Schreier (the tenor’s first venture with the baton) proves very satisfying and has excellent soloists. George Hall