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Mozart: Requiem Realisations / Cleobury, Choir Of King's College, Academy Of Ancient Music

Mozart / Stephen Cleobury
Release Date: 04/09/2013 
Label:  King's College Choir   Catalog #: 2   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartDuncan DruceMichael FinnissyRobert D. Levin,   ... 
Performer:  Elin Manahan ThomasChristine RiceJames GilchristChristopher Purves
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient MusicCambridge King's College Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Requiem (ed. Süssmayr) & Stephen Cleobury, cond; Elin Manahan Thomas (sop); Christine Rice (mez); James Gilchrist (ten); Christopher Purves (bs); King’s College Cambridge Ch; Academy of Ancient Music (period instruments) KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE 50002 (1 SACD + 1CD: 128:48 Text and Translation)


& “Realisations”: MAUNDER Read more Amen. LEVIN/BEYER Sanctus. DRUCE Benedictus. LEVIN Cum sanctus tuis. FINNISSY Lacrimosa. Mozart’s Requiem: An Audio Documentary by Cliff Eisen


The first disc, an SACD, offers the complete Süssmayr completion of the Requiem (the version traditionally sung) followed by five excerpts as realized by Richard Maunder; Robert Levin and Franz Beyer; Duncan Druce; Levin again; and Michael Finnissy. These are only some of the recent attempts to improve on Süssmayr’s admittedly faulty completion of Mozart’s sketches. We have tracked these efforts rather thoroughly in this review, starting with Beyer’s light retouching (revised more than once) of the orchestration and voice-leading, first recorded by Gerhard Schmitt-Gaden in 1974 ( Fanfare 5:2, and half a dozen times since); Maunder’s drastic omission of Süssmayr’s three inauthentic movements and his revision of the Lacrymosa and Agnus Dei, first recorded by Christopher Hogwood (8:3, and see also 16:5 for Rupert Frieberger); H. C. Robbins Landon’s conservative restoration of all the surviving material by Joseph Eybler and Franz J. Freystädtler, first recorded by Roy Goodman (14:2, and see also 15:6 for Solti and 23:6 for Weil); a modest revision by Robert D. Levin, first recorded by Helmut Rilling (16:2, and see also 19:3 for the later Pearlman and 26:5 for Labadie); a more drastic revision by Duncan Druce, first recorded by Roger Norrington (16:4); and another modest revision by Knud Vad, conducted by him (23:6). Claudio Abbado (23:4) added some of Beyer’s and Levin’s changes to the Süssmayr edition. Michael Finnissy (whose completion is referenced only here), Simon Andrews (whose completion was first performed in 1996), and Clemens Kemme (mentioned elsewhere) are names I have not encountered before this in any context.


In the wake of all these efforts to correct Süssmayr’s completion, Christoph Wolff and Simon P. Keefe have reviewed the reasons for respecting Süssmayr’s effort. Keefe’s article in the Journal of AMS in 2008 invoked a colloquy from Levin, Maunder, and Druce on the revisionist side as well as David Black and Christoph Wolff defending (more or less) the role of Süssmayr, altogether five positions at odds with Keefe, who furnishes his own rebuttal. In 1990 Stanley Sadie criticized Maunder’s work in Notes , which brought a rejoinder from Maunder followed by Sadie’s final quip, “I retain my obstinate preference for a version that originates in the Mozart circle in Vienna, and sounds like it, over one that originates in the late twentieth century, and sounds like it.” On the practical side, a search online will bring up numerous dialogs among choral conductors seeking advice on which edition to use. The consensus, as I read it, favors Beyer’s edition for correcting the more egregious errors and speaks of Maunder as the least acceptable of the new editions.


The present performance benefits from some wonderful singing of the top choral line by the boys of King’s. This is not the first choir to use boys in this work, but it is better than most. It is no criticism of Elin Manahan Thomas to say that her solos fit in very well, for her adult soprano vocal production has a light, airy tone that matches the boys’ tone well. The other three soloists, all unfamiliar to me, are excellent and well matched. The two men are former choral scholars in the choir. Cleobury’s tempos are moderate, close to the mean of modern performances. There is no trace of sound coming from the rear speakers of my surround system.


The audio documentary is rather unusual. Excerpts from the recording are inserted to illustrate the points made by the narrator. Punctuated by announcements (“Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” “Chapter 3”), the narrator (who is the soprano soloist in the performance) tells about the commissioning of the work, its composition, and its reception. In the second chapter, the narrator refers to other works that Mozart must have been familiar with, including music of Bach, Handel, Gossec, Florian Gassmann (1729-74), and Michael Haydn, whose Requiem bears such a striking similarity to the work that Mozart composed 20 years later. (I know of no recording of Gassmann’s Requiem.) Significant passages from these composers are performed to clarify the argument. The last and longest chapter includes Duncan Druce and Michael Finnissy discussing their approach to fixing what was wrong with Süssmayr’s completion. Excerpts from their completions as heard at the end of the first disc are repeated here. It should be noted that brief excerpts of Gassmann and Finnissy sung here are the only recorded evidence of the Requiem by one and the edition of Mozart by the other. At first the documentary struck me as something I would prefer to have in print in order to follow all the names involved, but after two or three hearings it was obvious that the musical illustrations are a valuable part of the presentation.


Anyone who has been aware of the Süssmayr issue will want to hear this new recording. I would suggest supplementing it with the Beyer version, which occupies a middle ground, the most recent version conducted by Georg Christoph Biller (31:3) setting up the Thomanerchor alongside the present choir. All in all, a splendid contribution to the Süssmayr problem.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Benedictus by Duncan Druce
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir
3.
Lacrimosa by Michael Finnissy
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir
4.
Sanctus by Robert D. Levin
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir
5.
Cum sanctis tuis by Robert D. Levin
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir
6.
Amen by C. Richard F. Maunder
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Christine Rice (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great Music May 6, 2013 By John T. (Dallas, TX) See All My Reviews "What could be better than Mozart and the Academy? More, more!" Report Abuse
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