For all of the 19th century and most of the 20th, the commonly performed version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's unfinished Requiem in D minor was the completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr, Mozart's amanuensis. It was given its first public performance in January 1793, as part of a benefit concert to aid Constanze Mozart. Since the Requiem was published in 1800 by Breitkopf and Härtel (with some changes and no credit to Süssmayr), it has been revised to modify some of his clumsy counterpoint and orchestration, particularly in the Sanctus and Osanna. There have even been new editions with freshly composed movements and reworked orchestration that are arguably superior to Süssmayr's, suggesting what Mozart might have accomplished had he lived. Getting past all of this conjecture about an unfinished masterpiece is difficult for scholar and layperson alike, so John Butt and the Dunedin Consort have simply attempted a thorough reconstruction of the first performance, using Süssmayr's completion in the edition by David Black, and employing the number of singers and instrumentalists heard at the premiere. While there will never be a 100% authentic performance of the Requiem, this is at least an honest attempt to convey the intentions of Mozart and Süssmayr, for better or worse, without the interference of others. While this performance sounds close to period practice, with a small choir and a lean Classical orchestra, the music is refreshed but familiar, and both purists for period practice and adherents of modern style can find common ground here. Linn's hybrid SACD offers extraordinarily clear and spacious sound, and the sharpness of the playing comes across in the mix without any loss of the wonderful acoustic resonance.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Requiem in D minor, K. 626|
|Requiem in D minor, K. 626 (Reconstruction of music performed at the Requiem Mass for Mozart, 10 December 1791)|