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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Raw, Elemental Grandeur of Mozart's Unfinished Requiem
This recording has received 'rave' reviews in both Gramophone (July 2004) and BBC Music Magazine (October 2004), and I refer you to these for 'expert' opinion, which mine is not.
No one who loves this monumental work will be satisfied with just one disc, and as readers of the Penguin Guide will know, there are many excellent recordings to choose from.
Why chose...
Published on 28 Sep 2004 by T. MacFarlane

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor sound engineering and an under-rehearsed choir
Controversial perhaps, but here is my review:

The SACD format cannot save the results of poor microphone placement, an under-rehearsed choir and a poor post-production edit (if there was one at all).

Problems:
- This has all the hallmarks of a single-take, rather than the best of several performances
- Choir is under-rehearsed: many lines...
Published 5 months ago by B. Wernham


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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Raw, Elemental Grandeur of Mozart's Unfinished Requiem, 28 Sep 2004
By 
T. MacFarlane "Tommacf" (Fylde Coast, North West England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
This recording has received 'rave' reviews in both Gramophone (July 2004) and BBC Music Magazine (October 2004), and I refer you to these for 'expert' opinion, which mine is not.
No one who loves this monumental work will be satisfied with just one disc, and as readers of the Penguin Guide will know, there are many excellent recordings to choose from.
Why chose Harnoncourt? He comes with a certain reputation for stamping his personality on the works he conducts, which is not to everyone's taste.
But what he does do, especially in Mozart, is get away from a certain 'plush' 19th Century romanticism, which for me takes away the raw, elemental grandeur of works like the Requiem and the Great C Minor Mass.
Conducting the Concentus Musicus Wien, with a fine team of soloists, and backed by a superb recording, this should disc be at/near the top of any buyer's shortlist.
As a bonus, Harnoncourt writes his own notes, in which I found much that was new to me about the background, genesis, and 'completion' of what he calls Sussmayr's "stopgap solution".
In fact, what he uses here is "the new critical edition by Franz Beyer, which carefully corrects technical mistakes made by Sussmayr" but no more than that.
I would like to award six stars, but Amazon won't let me!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic, powerful, beautiful, liberating ..., 3 Jun 2007
By 
Mark R. Bannister (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
As Harnoncourt notes in the inlay, it would indeed have been interesting to hear what music Mozart would have composed in his later years had he not died so tragically young. His requiem seems quite a departure from his usual style - it is dramatic, full of emotional power, and you will never forget the first time you hear it. The requiem has also served as an inspiration to many over the years, and continues to provide rich examples to students and even composers for today's movies, of how to reach the deepest most varied emotions in a musical score.

Harnoncourt's interpretation doesn't really come into its own until the Dies Irae. The Introitus isn't the best I've heard, the brass is too loud for my taste, and the ambience too dry. The choir and orchestra doesn't sound grand enough for this piece. The Kyrie suffers similarly, and seems to beg more drama than it was afforded in this recording.

However, the Dies Irae shatters the somewhat cautious opening, and suddenly our ears are opened to the full drama and flair that Harnoncourt is capable of. From this point on it is pure magic and beauty - the orchestra stabs and soothes, the choir soars and dances with the most vivid of colours, and soloists sing with such purity and clarity you can almost feel them plucking and wrenching your heart.

There are so many outstanding tracks on this album it is hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to, and while the Domine Jesu is a very close contender, it just loses out to the Confutatis - a vignette of ambivalent feelings, a piece that beautifully contrasts between powerful attack and majestic splendour, between war and peace, knowledge and innocence, adulthood and childhood, dark and light. In my opinion, although short, it's one of the most inspirational pieces of music that Mozart ever wrote.

My only real disappointment with the requiem, is that Mozart never completed it! This is, of course, not a fault of Harnoncourt, but by the end of the album you can tell it is no longer Mozart's hand, and the overt repetition of earlier themes frustrates. It is at this point you may feel a little cheated, as although the album is ostensibly 50 minutes long, at least the last 5 minutes feels unnecessary. Call me butcher, but I would have stopped with the Agnus Dei, and then included a recording of a different piece, perhaps a Mozart mass, to extend the running time.

Despite the uncertain start, this album has to be one of the definitive interpretations of Mozart's requiem, and even though I feel it is over-priced for what it offers, I would still rate it as a must buy for any serious Mozart or requiem fan, or indeed anyone who loves a good bit of drama with their music.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is lovely and dark, yet clear in tone and quality., 15 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
There is a wonderful darkness to the album, yet clear in tone and quality in regards to sound quality. Very well put together version of this great music by Mozart/Harnoncourt, I think when Harnoncourt gets to the pearly gates Mozart will be there to shake his hands for this much needed raw, yet also refined version of this timeless classic.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have!, 24 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
This is an astonishingly fresh and vibrant recording, with outstanding clarity of sound in every respect. This CD tops all recordings of this Requiem we've got on our shelves. If you like the sound of the Schoenberg Choir, try Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Harnoncourt; less convincing orchestra performance, for once, but great soloists and outstanding choir: no idea how a choir can achieve this lightness and ease!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requiem & La Chasse, 19 April 2013
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This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
For the most part, Harnoncourt keeps his quirkiness under control and accordingly delivers a stunning performance. Such are his insights, even those who suffer from K 626 Fatigue will quake as if hearing this masterpiece for the first time. The sound-engineers have excelled themselves. That being said, I would have bet good money that the Hostias was going to be a trainwreck before I hit the play-button and so it proved to be. Call me an antiquated Romantic if you want, but this movement (and the text itself) clamours for a meditative approach, not an attempt to break the land speed record. So all in all, this is a stellar performance with one big fat sunspot.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor sound engineering and an under-rehearsed choir, 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
Controversial perhaps, but here is my review:

The SACD format cannot save the results of poor microphone placement, an under-rehearsed choir and a poor post-production edit (if there was one at all).

Problems:
- This has all the hallmarks of a single-take, rather than the best of several performances
- Choir is under-rehearsed: many lines start weak as singers are unsure. Sibilant consonants ('S's & 'T's) are inconsistent.
- The choir is muddy, the result of poor microphone placement. The poor basses are inaudible (and I am singing that part in our choir at the moment - this recording is useless for my practice)
- The mix is poor - the whole choir is right-sided and far away, with the instruments too near, and too dominant for a choral piece.

Yuk!

Brian
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to worry., 29 Nov 2008
This review is from: Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt (Audio CD)
Not to worry if you do not have SACD compatible equipment...this recording will play on a standard CD player but the sound reproduction will not be able to take advantage of the excellent new SACD technology....oh and the pirates cannot copy from it of course!
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Mozart: Requiem /Harnoncourt by Gerald Finley (Audio CD - 2004)
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