Mozart, JC Bach

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: JC Bach,Mozart
LABELS: Channel
WORKS: Requiem, K626
PERFORMER: Marie-Noëlle de Callatay (soprano), Annette Markert (mezzo-soprano), Robert Getchell (tenor), Peter Harvey (bass); Netherlands Bach Society Choir & Orchestra/Jos van Veldhoven
CATALOGUE NO: CCS SA 18102
Work continues on Mozart’s Requiem over 200 years since its composition. Musicologists have always been reluctant to allow Süssmayr’s completion to stand as written, and on this disc we hear the fruits of the labours of Marius Flothuis, an ex-director of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and former professor of musicology at Utrecht, who died last year. The major changes are a rewriting of trombone parts (the trombone looms very large in the Requiem) and a recasting of the Osanna at the end of the Benedictus, which in Flothuis’s version is a somewhat leaner and tauter affair. The whole comes across as fresh and clean – which certainly owes less to minor amendments to the score than to an admirable performance by the Netherlands Bach Society under Jos van Veldhoven.

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The pace Veldhoven establishes at the start is finely judged, dignified without dragging, stepping from bass to treble beats in a manner that is properly formal without being square and rigid. It is a harbinger of Veldhoven’s good judgement throughout, which the Bach Society orchestra respond to immaculately. They are heard at their best in a suitably furious ‘Dies irae’ and at glorious full flight in the ‘Rex tremendae’. Here, also, the chorus is exemplary: articulate, full-bodied and unerringly accurate. The only quibble might be with the soloists, who apart from Peter Harvey are occasionally vulnerable. Nonetheless, the performance has many more pros than cons, and is supplemented by touchingly beautiful miniatures by JC Bach. For less fallible soloists, try John Eliot Gardiner. Christopher Wood