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Mozart: Requiem / Christophers, Watts, Pancella, Kennedy, Owens, Naim


Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16093   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Phyllis PancellaElizabeth WattsAndrew KennedyEric Owens,   ... 
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel and Haydn Society
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MOZART Requiem. Ave verum corpus. Per questa bella mano 1 Harry Christophers, cond; Elizabeth Watts (sop); Phyllis Pancella (mez); Andrew Kennedy (ten); 1 Eric Owens (bs); Handel & Haydn Society Ch & O (period instruments) CORO COR19093 (53:59 Text and Translation)

Harry Christophers moves quickly. This commercial CD documents performances that took place barely Read more three months before its release. Christophers is undoubtedly better known as the founder and artistic director of the prestigious British choral and instrumental ensemble The Sixteen, but he has been artistic director of Boston’s venerable Handel and Haydn Society since 2005. The society’s roster lists considerably more than 16 names, but clearly Christophers is equally comfortable with both ensembles, perhaps because the stated of goal of the Bostonians—to “promote the love of good music and a better performance of it”—could very well have been said of his intrepid Brits. And like so many of The Sixteen’s recorded endeavors, this one fulfills that aspiration.

Christophers is no laggard on the podium, either. He favors brisk tempos that emphasize the Requiem’s dramatic intensity over its monumental gravitas. Of course, some of the dramatic force, not to mention the gravitas, wanes in Süssmayr’s portions of the score, but Christophers carries the intensity to the end. The solo quartet is well chosen for the task at hand. Its collaborations in the Tuba mirum, Recordare, and Benedictus are very effective. The choir, quite large by today’s standards, does its part, responding alertly to Christophers’s direction with a beautifully focused choral blend.

Christophers’s stiffest competition is from John Eliot Gardiner on Philips (Süssmayr edition, period instruments). Gardiner is my top choice, and I’m not about to demote his superb accomplishment, but I could live very well with the new Christophers version.

Coro offers two bonuses: a radiant performance of the incomparable Ave verum corpus and a relatively unfamiliar concert aria for bass with an obbligato double bass accompaniment. It would be hard to imagine a better performance of the aria, which is verbally introduced on the disc. It was undoubtedly sung as an encore at the concert, but it seems entirely inappropriate in the context. Nevertheless, the disc warrants a warm recommendation.

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Phyllis Pancella (Mezzo Soprano), Elizabeth Watts (Soprano), Andrew Kennedy (Tenor),
Eric Owens (Baritone)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel and Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Per questa bella mano, K 612 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Eric Owens (Baritone), Robert Naim (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel and Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Ave verum corpus in D major, K 618 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Phyllis Pancella (Mezzo Soprano), Elizabeth Watts (Soprano), Andrew Kennedy (Tenor),
Eric Owens (Baritone)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel and Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Austria 

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