The four-hand piano arrangement provided a major source of home performance and enjoyment of large-scale compositions all the way through the 19th century. Having unearthed this arrangement of Mozart's Requiem in D minor, K. 626, by the still-feared-by-aspiring-pianists Carl Czerny, the compilers of this recording might have taken the trouble to let us know how popular the work actually was. But that's a minor complaint. This is a nice find for lovers of Romantic pianism, for it is less a transcription than a reinterptation of Mozart's Requiem, with much to tell listeners about just how the early 19th century heard Mozart in general. Czerny approaches each movement a bit differently (and he arguably improves the movements completed by Mozart's student Franz Xaver Süssmayr). There are echoes of Beethoven in the big Rex Tremendae and elsewhere, while the Benedictus seems to resemble a song by Schubert or, more likely, one of the lesser lieder composers. The Dies irae gets jaggedly ornamented lines in the pianists' right hands, with a difficulty suggesting that Czerny might have intended the work for his own use. Performances of other Classical-period choral works could easily be modeled on the moods of this piece, and the performances, with small-scale soprano and alto soloists of very distinctive timbre, are fine. The boxy sound is the major weak point of this release on the small Italian label La Bottega Discantica, but it can nevertheless be recommended for interested listeners.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Requiem, K. 626|