Mozart Requiem - The Sunday Times

First criticised as long ago as 1825, Süssmayr's completion of Mozart's unfinished mass for the dead may have stood the test of time, but it remains susceptible to fluctuating fashions in scholarship. William Christie and Philippe Herreweghe rehabilitated the work of Mozart's maligned pupil on the grounds that he was closer than modern scholars to the composer and may have had access to material that may have since gone astray. Although Mackerras uses a modern-instrument band, he has long been interested in period style, but has elected to use Robert D Levin's edition, which aims to "address the problems of instrumentation, grammar and structure" of Süssmayr's version, while respecting the 200-plus years of its performance tradition. Whatever one thinks of Levin versus Süssmayr, Mackerras's performance is as thrilling as one would expect from this great Mozart conductor, and with a good quartet of British soloists (Susan Gritton's soprano is glorious) and the chorus singing their hearts out, he makes the strongest possible case for the newer completion.

08 June 2003