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Mozart: Requiem (Levin Edition) / Runnicles, Et Al

Release Date: 08/23/2005 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80636   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christine BrewerRuxandra DonoseJohn TessierEric Owens
Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony OrchestraAtlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

One could be excused for wondering whether the folks at Telarc, like Mozart, failed to complete the project at hand. It may make perfect aesthetic sense to devote an entire CD to a single masterpiece, but 47 minutes is woefully short measure these days for a commercial CD. Current practice calls for something to fill up the extra space––in this case, a half an hour’s worth––on the disc. Economic considerations aside, however, this is a successful release.

The underlying assumptions of Robert Levin’s edition of the Requiem are that the ailing Mozart discussed his intentions with Süssmayer and that the familiar Süssmayer version is faithful to Mozart’s expectations, if deficient in execution. This scenario, on the face
Read more of it, would seem to be at odds with the fact that Constanze Mozart first offered the task of completing the Requiem to Eybler, turning to Süssmayer only after Eybler decided that the project was too much for him. For all we know, Süssmayer may have harbored similar reservations, but felt obligated, under the circumstances, to finish the job. At any rate, Levin has taken Süssmayer as his starting point, correcting his obvious flaws and, aside from a completely new Amen, inserting only occasional patches of newly composed music.

The Mozart-Levin Requiem has been recorded twice before, by Labadie for Dorian and by Mackerras for Linn. I liked them both, and I like the latest version as well. Runnicles infuses this music with a sense of urgency that, in some of the faster movements, approaches impatience. Nonetheless, his timings aren’t significantly different from Mackerras’s. The more introspective movements, I should add, are handled with due sensitivity. I must admit that I was momentarily taken aback when the second movement burst forth with a resounding “Cheer-ee-ay ay-lay-ee-sohn.” Given the superb Atlanta chorus’s Shavian roots, precise enunciation can be taken for granted, so any particular pronunciation is clearly a matter of choice. Runnicle’s solo quartet is wonderfully strong from top to bottom. Telarc’s reputation for fine recording is borne out by this release, which is warmly recommended.

George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Ruxandra Donose (Mezzo Soprano), John Tessier (Tenor),
Eric Owens (Bass)
Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia 
Length: 46 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Robert Levin.
Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia (01/29/2005 - 01/30/2005)
This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 

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