Because Mozart left his Requiem in D minor unfinished at the time of his death in 1791, various completions have been attempted to make it performable, in some way reflecting his intentions and style. The most frequently used version in modern times was completed by Mozart's assistant, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, and despite some compositional errors and clumsy orchestration, its form is widely accepted to accord with Mozart's final instructions. Another completion was started by Mozart's friend, Joseph Eybler, at the request of Constanze Mozart, though he was unable to finish it. Other restorers have typically modified Süssmayr's orchestration, added the fragmentary (and somewhat speculative) Amen fugue to the end of the Sequence, or recomposed parts of the Offertory, Agnus Dei, and Benedictus, which are Süssmayr's handiwork. In this stunning performance by Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan, the scholarly completion by Masato Suzuki is performed, which closely follows Mozart's autograph and incorporates Süssmayr's better additions with elements by Eybler, as well as some changes to the orchestration that correspond to Mozart's practices. As a result of this careful sifting of material, the Requiem seems to have shed a lot of historical baggage, both in its textures and its sound, and this brilliantly recorded hybrid SACD offers clarity and balance, which enhance the effect of this leaner and tighter Requiem. But much of this newfound transparency is due to the alert performance by Suzuki's choir and original instruments orchestra, which give the Requiem lucid parts and exciting sonorities. This recording also includes the Vesperae Sollennes de confessore, a work Mozart composed ten years before the Requiem. Thanks to the predominance of major keys and the lighter mood of the music, it provides a good balance to the much darker-hued Requiem. On a bonus track, an alternate version of the Tuba mirum is provided. This BIS recording is highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Requiem, K. 626|
|Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339|
|Requiem, K. 626|