Dunedin Consort - Mozart: Requiem - Music and Words

The Dunedin Consort's Mozart Requiem in a reconstruction of its original 1793 premiere, out this week, is one to match their outstanding, award-winning disc of Handel's Messiah from a decade ago. Terrific soloists headed by soprano Joanne Lunn sing with refreshingly straight Early Music tone. They double as chorus singers which has the effect of bringing the rank-and-file up to their high standard so that we are rewarded with precise timekeeping, agile, articulate ensemble runs and clear diction in Germanic Latin with a hard g in exurget andqui rendered as 'kfee'. Contrasts are never wishy-washy; the men's anger and the women's serenity in the Confutatis are vividly coloured. The energetic double fugue at Cum Sanctis is a worthy Mozartian tribute to Bach. The offbeats in the opening never plod but are light and set the entire performance up for buoyancy. The Lacrimosa is especially beautiful, the choir's soft entries touchingly dramatic. Butt sets quick speeds, his Andante at Hostias more than walking pace, but thrillingly carried off for all that. He drives the tempi with no let-up or rallentandi in either Dies Irae or Domine Jesu and generates a rare stateliness in the Sanctus. This alone marks this recording out from those others which tend, even unwittingly, to slacken the tension when Mozart is no longer the composer. The focus of the performers is not on regret that the secretary Suessmayr had completed the work, but the atmosphere of the first performance when who composed what was the last thing on anybody's mind. Butt imbues the Sanctus and Osanna with brass power and a flowing line.    

Music and Words
02 April 2014