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Mozart: Requiem / Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Release Date: 01/01/2003 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 211   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Susan GrittonCatherine Wyn-RogersTimothy RobinsonPeter [bass voice] Rose
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There are three issues attendant to this release—format, edition, and performance. Truth to tell, I’m not in a position to address the first of them, that of format. The disc is identified as “hybrid multichannel,” which is to say that it will play on both super audio and standard CD players. As I’ve not converted to a new SACD system, I am obliged to play this disc on my old equipment, on which it sounds just fine. I can only assume that it will sound even better on a SACD player. How much better, of course, I can’t rightly say.

As for the edition, Mackerras has chosen to record this latest attempt to rescue Mozart from Franz Xaver Süssmayr, whose completion of his mentor’s final, unfinished masterpiece has been
Read more unendingly controversial. Thus the Levin edition, used here, receives its second recording in as many months. Acting on the premise that the student must have had at least some input from the master, Levin has sought to improve on, rather than to discard, Süssmayr’s efforts. Apart from the thinning of the sometimes heavy-handed orchestration, Levin’s handiwork will be most evident at the end of the Sequence, in the Sanctus, the Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei. I was favorably disposed toward Bernard Labadie’s version, recorded by Dorian, in Fanfare 26:5, noting that “Listeners familiar with Süssmayr’s version can expect from time to time to find themselves in terra incognita, but rarely disoriented, as Levin’s emendations seem well conceived and are smoothly integrated into the fabric of the work,” and concluding that “I will listen to (Labadie’s) recording again.”

It’s perhaps unfortunate that the new recording has followed so quickly on the heels of the other, as it casts a modicum of doubt on the concluding statement of the older review. If you have already invested in the Dorian album, it will serve you well, but it now seems more likely that I will turn to the Linn recording when I choose to hear the Levin edition. Mackerras, one of our most reliable conductors in so many areas of the repertoire, here proves his mettle once again. With a splendidly responsive choir and soloists to match, he leads a performance that is admirably paced and lovingly shaped throughout. The solemn Adagio and Fugue is a welcome bonus. Recommended.

-- George Chien, FANFARE [9/2003]

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
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Works on This Recording

Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mezzo Soprano), Timothy Robinson (Tenor),
Peter [bass voice] Rose (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Scottish Chamber Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 46 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/14/2002 - 12/16/2002)
This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 
Adagio and Fugue for Strings in C minor, K 546 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 8 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/14/2002 - 12/16/2002)