Related Reviews
BBC Radio 3 'In Tune'
'The Dunedin Consort has made a huge impact with a small group of singers...[they] make a very strong case.'
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Audiophile.no
'a world-class performance'
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Pizzicato
Supersonic Award: 'This is without any doubt one of the best recordings ever made of this work...'
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Crescendo
'Une version qui mérite d’être connue et justement appréciée.'
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HighResMac
'beautiful and surprising facets' / 'schöne und überraschende Facetten'
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International Record Review
'Butt directs an at once powerful and attractively nuanced performance of the Requiem.'
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AudioStream
'Download of the Week': 'The sound of this recording is first rate.'
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Choir & Organ
5 Stars
'Beautifully paced and using period instruments in a chamber-like recording, the classical brass and woodwind create just the right ambience and drama when needed.'
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Radio Klara
5 Stars
One of Flemish Radio Klara's 'Top 10' picks
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Hi-Fi News
'Album Choice': 'Butt’s direction is akin to cleaning an old painting, the colours emerging with a new vividness. An important realisation of a well-loved work.'
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The Irish Times
5 Stars
'The performance is sinewy and expressive, lit as from within, and captures the contrapuntal writing in a way that can only be called pristine.'
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RP Online
'The most beautiful Mozart "Requiem"...'
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Classical Candor
'Among the segments that stood out for me were the "Dies Irae" for its menacing spirit; the "Tuba Mirum," "Recordare," and "Lux Aeterna" for their sweet freshness; and the "Lacrimosa" for its earnest bearing.'
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The Sunday Times
'Butt gets drama aplenty...'
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
'The consort of 16 singers and an orchestra of historically aware punch and pungency bring to the music not only a vibrant clarity but also a dramatic intensity in such apocalyptic portions of the Mass...'
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Gramophone
Recording of the Month: '...one of the finest Mozart Requiems...'
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The Times
4 Stars
'It’s as though a veil has been lifted...And in the Dunedin Consort’s hands, almost every note, whoever wrote it, thrills, warms, and enchants.'
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Big Issue
'It’s a performance that reels you in and never lets you go.'
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Sinfini Music
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'Linn’s up-close recording balance captures the dramatic focus and fiery energy generated by the Dunedin Consort.'
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AllAboutJazz.com
'The results are overwhelming.'
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NJ.com
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
'[Butt's] measured approach brings out the starkness and solemnity of Mozart’s setting, while the recording highlights its distinctive colours in a near ideal ecclesiastical acoustic.'
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SA-CD.net
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'There is no doubt that this issue is thought-provoking in its scholarship, exciting in its spontaneous and assured musicianship...'
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Le Parnasse Musical
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'Prise de son extraordinaire, l'une des meilleures de tout le catalogue discographique.'
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Music and Words
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MusicWeb International
'...endlessly fascinating...Overall it is an essential addition to any collection of Mozart's choral music.'
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AllMusic.com
4½ Stars
'Linn 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.'
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Retford Times
'stunning'
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Voix des Arts
'Maestro Butt and Dunedin Consort approach the score with the refinement of chamber players, and the resulting fusion of grandeur with intimacy serves the music ideally.’
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Surrey Mirror
‘…it’s well nigh impeccable, with director John Butt marshalling his resources superbly to create a richly detailed rendition of this much loved work.’
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Audiophile.no
‘…a world-class performance…’
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BachTrack.com
4 Stars
‘…magical performance…’
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The Guardian
'The Requiem had plenty of Dunedin hallmarks: crystal-clear counterpoint in the Lux Aeterna, pure vocal lines in the Lacrimosa, ferocious drive in the Dies Irae.'
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Dunedin Consort - Mozart: Requiem - The Guardian


02 April 2014
The Guardian
Andrew Clements
4 Stars

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.


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