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Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2014 Choral category winner!
The Dunedin Consort presents the premiere recording of Mozart scholar David Black's new 2013 edition of Süssmayr's completion of Mozart's Requiem.In keeping with several other Dunedin projects, this provides the opportunity to re-imagine what this work may have sounded like at its very first performance.To this end, the recording will be the first not only to use this new edition, but also to present the work using forces close in style and scale to those at the first performances.One striking element of these performances is the fact that the soloists are also the leaders of the choir, thus giving a greater consistency to the relationship between the solo numbers and the choruses.Dunedin Consort seeks to resurrect Süssmayr's much maligned edition to its place and worth in history.Taking centre stage are soloists Joann Lunn soprano, Rowan Hellie alto, Thomas Hobbs tenor and Matthew Brook bass-baritone.
This album has been Grammy nominated.
A pungent energy...the Dunedin Consort Most new recordings of Mozart's famously unfinished Requiem have a new completion of the score as their selling point.Scholars queue up to offer their ideas of what the work might have sounded like had Mozart lived to complete it himself,and demonstrating in the process that what his pupil Frank Xaver Süssmayr did to make the work performable he produced the version of the score that was always heard until the last quarter of the 20th century was nothing more than the most routine hack work.John Butt's approach with the Dunedin Consort,though,is different.He maintains that whatever the weaknesses in Süssmayr's work,he did at least know Mozart,and the version that he came up with proved hugely influential for the next two centuries.The Dunedin version is described as a reconstruction of the first performance,in other words,an attempt to realise the score as Süssmayr completed it,and which was heard at the benefit concert for Mozart's widow,Constanze,in Vienna in 1793.As Butt points out,however,there may have been an even earlier performance of the score that Mozart completed,at his own funeral in 1791,and a reconstruction of that performance,which would have consisted just of the Requiem Aeternam and the Kyrie,with the likely forces eight singers,with single wind and lower strings but doubled violins is also included on this disc.The choir and orchestra used for the reconstruction of the 1793 complete performance is larger a choir of 16,including soloists,and an orchestra of 30,including a fortepiano continuo. Butt's account is as much an exploration of the sound world that the 1793 audience would have experienced as it is of the rights and wrongs of what Süssmayr did.Anyone used to a suave choral sound in performances of the Requiem might be surprised by the almost granular texture here,in which every voice makes its own distinctive contribution,and by the pungency with which the orchestral writing registers.There's a real energy,with tremendous climaxes that belie the scale of the forces involved.It's not going to be the last word on what will remain the unsolvable riddle of Mozart's final masterpiece,but it's a salutary corrective to some of the academic speculation. --The Guardian - 4/5 Stars
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'...the version that captures that best for me with unrivalled power and immediacy is the reconstruction by John Butt and the Dunedin Consort...done with superb musicality, coherence and commitment.' Nicholas Kenyon --BBC Radio 3, Record Review - Building a Library Top Recommendation