Though everyone knows Mozart died before completing his masterpiece, Requiem KV 626, we have all accepted the edition completed by Franz Xaver Sussmayr, Mozart's assistant, as the closet possible realization of Mozart's pieces and bits of scoring. But in 1993 Robert V. Levin's scholarly and sensitive edition arrived and it is this fresh edition of the Requiem here recorded.
Donald Runnicles conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus is this truly splendid new version of the Requiem. Runnicles' approach to the work is more operatic than most (his fine work with the San Francisco Opera shows) and while there are those that will prefer the 'period instrument and style' performances so readily available on multiple CDs, his approach lends itself to a richly immediate and text appropriate result. The chorus is reduced in size from the well-known Chorus (remnant of Robert Shaw's tenure with these musicians) and sings with complete clarity of pitch and elegant phrasing. They are supported by Runnicles' fine choice of tempi and one of the best sounding orchestras for this Requiem.
Runnicles selected a top notch quartet of soloists: Christine Brewer, soprano, proving that she is not only a fine rising Wagnerian but a sensitive Mozartean as well; mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, now an established Mozartean; John Tessier, tenor; and Eric Owens, bass. Each singer shines in solo passages and in the quartet portions form as unified a sound as any on record.
This recording is a beautifully performed, lovely and elegant Requiem - and a fine opportunity for Mozart devotees to hear the Levin edition! Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, September 11