Mozart: Requiem / Bonney, von Otter, Blochwitz, W. White, Gardiner

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Product Description

John Eliot Gardiner's 1986 recording of Mozart's unfinished Requiem, with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, is a model of clarity and grace. The soloists--Barbara Bonney, Anne Sofie von Otter, Hans Peter Blochwitz, and Willard White--are supple, expressive, but never overpowering. This disc also features the lively and colorful Kyrie (k. 341). --Joshua Cody

Customer Reviews:

  • If you need to get a copy--get this one
    This was the recommended version by my professor when we did this for university. It's a fabulous rendition, one easy to sing along with once you know the music or just to have playing in the background....more info
  • a voice teacher and early music fan
    Mozart's swan song, the Requiem "fragment" as it is known in scholarly circles, is regarded even today as his most mysterious work. Left incomplete at his death, his student and assistant Franz Xavier Sussmayr (1766-1803) completed the work from Mozart's notes. It is this version that is performed here. The program notes with the recording include some interesting true-false questions regarding the composition of the Requiem and Mozart's health and stability.

    It is indeed pleasant to hear this music performed on period instruments, and the smaller chamber-like orchestra more in line with the time period. The soloists are: Barbara Bonney, soprano; Anne Sofie von Otter, contralto; Hans Peter Blochwitz, tenor; Willard White, bass.

    The four soloists and the Monteverdi Choir are truly inspiring, and together with the vigorous contribution of the English Baroque Soloists and John Eliot Gardiner's charismatic conducting, both the 'Requiem' and the 'Kyrie' are revealed in all their glorious beauty and spiritual profundity. Although recorded in 1986, the crispness and clarity of the performance comes through the Digital Remastering.

    "....With 'some first-rate solo singing' from a top-flight team, 'plenty of cut and thrust',' great athleticism' and 'expressive weight' in the big choruses, and 'well audible' inner detail in the orchestral playing of the period instrument band (GRAMOPHONE), this is a recording that takes you to the heart of the music."

    Just a brief mention of my personal favorite recording of the 'Requiem' recorded in 1990 by Peter Neumann; it has four fabulous sounding soloists who just seem to 'fit vocally together' in a most intriguing and amazing fashion, and for me it was marvelous to hear. The soloists are Diana Montague, soprano; Michael Chance, countertenor; Christoph Pregardian, tenor and Franz-Josef Selig, bass; along with the Kolner Kammerchor. This disc is part of a five disc set that includes several Mozart Masses; a great 'buy' for the Mozart lover....more info
  • Deserves better than one star, for sure
    With an understanding of the motivation behind period performance, one quickly realizes that this, unlike the Walter recording, is a historically accurate and compelling one. Bruno Walter's recording is excellent, but not representative of classical interpretation. In Gardiner's usual zeal, the performance was produced in such a way as to give the listener a feel as to what it would have been like to listen, in the late 18th century, with Mozart himself at the helm. The playing is flawless, and the complement of singers only heightens the power and drive of this all-too-often butchered work. While Herreweghe's recording is slightly less mechanical, this one deserves minimally five stars, even if only to raise its review average. On a normal day, it would get four and a half, with the Herreweghe one sliver above, at five....more info
  • Gardiner gives a close look back in the past
    My compliments to Gardiner and his talented Monteverdi Choir along with the English Baroque Soloists. I have previously bought his equally accurate Beethoven: Missa Solemnis and have ever since had the upmost respect for this indeed rare conductor. To say that this is one of the more accurate versions of Mozart's Requiem is an understatement. So many other conductors seem to have this piece entirely interpreted wrong. To be honest, I dont think it's really an accidental interpretation of Mozart's last work. I believe these conductors often ignore the way they feel a composer's work should be interpreted and replace it with their own vision. That may be ok for study purposes in some schools or universities but it is entirely wrong for public performances and recordings. Gardiner does this piece justice by returning us all to the 18th century and his singers and orchestra are immediately stating that fact with the very first movement, Requiem. It takes out the overly operatic feeling of most versions of this piece and goes straight for accurate tones, style and pace. The soloists are also close to the original interpretation of this Requiem though I wish I knew why Willard White felt he had to get "creative" with certain notes here and there. Overall, an excellent piece which I feel you'll enjoy time and time again....more info
  • No wobbly vibratos (thank goodness)
    An avid Mozart listener, I find the modern renditions of his breathtaking music most often too heavy handed, with too much sound too much of the time. In this more traditional recording, we rediscover the lightness and clarity of sound that Mozart is known for. Thank goodness--no more Verdi-esque performances by artists who believe they are singing the dramatic Romantic solos instead of the more precise Classical solo. The clarity of tone and the beautiful singing are what draws me, the classical singer, again and again to this gorgeous piece, finally rendered by singers with precise pitch. The CD remains fitting homage to a brilliant composer and without a doubt one of the jewels in my collection....more info
  • Give it a try!
    This is a recording on period instruments, which I am never a fan of. Instruments of this period had a lot of problems with intonation and they can be quite difficult to play. Thus, a lot of the recordings one hears with this variety of instrument can be substandard. And me, I personally like the sound of a full modern orchestra, even for the Mozart Requiem. I purchased the Abbado recording with the Berlin Philharmonic as well, but I'll have to say I prefer the Gardiner. His tempos are brisk, especially in the Dies Irae, which I really like. And it sounds really good. What more can I say?

    So for those naysayers, give this a try. I don't think you will be disappointed....more info
  • Good, but average
    I am reviewing the reissue of Mozart forever collection which contains only the requiem (not the Kyrie) and neither has the text. (Is cheaper, of course)
    The liner notes include a brief introduction and a ten "true or false" statements about this famous work, which is wellcome.
    All the performers are very good. The conducting is "energetic". The Orchestra very clear, the choir is wonderfull and the soloists dont have the usual operistic vibrato of ancient times. The problem? Gardiner is superficial. The Recordare is too fast, the Benedictus slow and almost ponderous, the long notes of the Rex tremendae without necessary projection (look for Koopman) and the famous, Dies Irae, taken at such a fast speed that the orchestra simply cant make a point with the fantastic period brass section. For a very good recording of Sussmayr version, try William Christie, which contains the ave verum corpus also, has a strong quartet, and almost good choir and, most important, a conductor which uses fast speeds when necessary and is not afraid of holding down tension when music asks for relax (as in the recordare). ...more info


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