Dunedin Consort - Mozart: Requiem - The Guardian (LIVE REVIEW)

Hot on the heels of their superb set of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, John Butt and the Dunedin Consort have turned to Mozart's Requiem for the first time. They recorded it last week and performed it for the closing concert of the Lammermuir Festival, in Scotland. As usual with Butt, there's a scholarly twist. He uses a new edition of the score - Franz Süssmayr's completion in original form - and reconstructs the orchestral forces that (probably) played the first performances in 1793. A fortepiano replaces the usual organ in the continuo ensemble, but I suspect the difference will be more apparent on the recording than it was in the boomy acoustic of St Mary's. Generally, the orchestra was dark hued and brooding, the music brilliantly punctuated by husky brass and basset horns.

The streamlined vocal line-up of just 12 singers was standard Dunedin fare. They opened with Mozart's early Solemn Vespers K339, the chorus members flanking the orchestra and taking solos with neat sidesteps to centre stage. No star mentality here. The result was fluid textures and a beautiful blend...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.

The Guardian
24 September 2013