ALBUM TITLE: Mozart: Requiem
WORKS: Requiem; Misericordias Domini – Offertory, K222
PERFORMER: Dunedin Consort/John Butt
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 449
The completion of Mozart’s Requiem by his assistant Franz Xaver Süssmayr has come in for criticism ever since it was undertaken in the period following the greater composer’s death. What made Süssmayr unique among those who completed this work, however, was that he knew Mozart and shared his musical culture. So John Butt points out in his accompanying notes for this recording, based on a new edition by musicologist David Black.
Black has attempted to restore his text to its earliest form, providing Butt with an opportunity to explore how it may have sounded in its first performances; thus, in addition to a complete account, the opening Requiem aeternam and Kyrie are also performed as they might have been at Mozart’s own Requiem Mass at St Michael’s Church, Vienna, on 10 December 1791. In addition, the earlier Misericordias Domini (1775) – a set of parts that seems to have been copied for the same church during Mozart’s final year – is also heard.
Butt’s Dunedin Consort recordings may draw from musicological findings, but the spirit they summon up is a long way from dry or academic. His measured approach brings out the starkness and solemnity of Mozart’s setting, while the recording highlights its distinctive colours in a near ideal ecclesiastical acoustic.