Mozart: Requiem, K626

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Requiem, K626
PERFORMER: Iride Martinez (soprano), Monica Groop (alto), Steve Davislim (tenor), Kwangchul Youn (bass); Chorus Musicus Köln, Das Neue Orchester/Christoph Spering
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30307
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

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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.

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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