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This disc, well recorded in 1986, contains the version of the Requiem as completed by Mozart's pupil, Sussmayr. There have been various attempts to complete this work, Mozart's last, but it is arguable that this is still the best option. It is certainly the most often performed.

On this occasion Gardiner has the support of four excellent and well-matched solo singers with Barbara Bonney, Anne Sofie von Otter, Hans Peter Blochwotz and Willard White. The Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists (orchestra) complete a very distinguished line-up and they do not disappoint.

The style of the performance is one of reliability with no attempt made to do anything other than deliver a good performance without any oddities as regards content, tempi or phrasing. All of these targets are met and the performance is, in consequence, very satisfying if without the drama that some other conductors strive for. Drama beyond the written note seems a questionable notion in a work such as a Requiem.

The disc is completed with a performance of the Kyrie KV 341 which is scored for a larger orchestra than the main work. Once more the character of the performance is conceived in the same manner as the Requiem.

This is therefore a first class, middle of the road performance where everything is as it should be but one which does not aim to excite in any way that would be inappropriate.

As such I would suggest that it makes an ideal recording suitable for repeat listening and is therefore well worth considering as a purchase option.
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on 13 February 2000
When it comes to buying a recording of Mozart's Requiem, one is hardly pressed for choice, but if I had to declare any recording as The greatest, this would be it. I first bought it two years ago, and from the first tones of Bonney's voice in the Introit, I was enchanted. Eliot Gardiner, as usual, leads a satisfying performance, with all singers performing their parts divinely. For those who are reluctant to pay full price, however, the Naxos release is also highly commendable.
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on 5 February 2015
I own close to a dozen recordings of this finest-ever torso of sacred music; some with 20th-century attempts to improve upon the (in places mediocre) completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr (e.g. the Hosianna, omission of an extended Amen fugue which was to end the Lacrimosa, Sanctus). There is no ultimate version and there will never be one. However, if you are looking for a vinyl/CD recording that pays tribute to the historically-informed performance practice, then this is your first choice. I rank it among the top-5 classical CDs I own (among a total of some 400). Others have written that Gardiner's approach is less emotional than that of others. This is undoubtedly true. The approach is analytical in nature, but for that matter no less moving. The forces (orchestra and choir alike) emphasize the terrible aspects of the liturgy (Dies irae, Rex tremedae), but are no less convincing in the supplicatory parts. The quartet of soloists is simply superb. There is a clarity to the music making and recording that lets the music breathe and live. One would never guess that it was recorded in the mid-80s.
[If you are looking for an 5.0-channel SACD recording that takes into consideration the latest musicological research on the subject, consider the 2014 recording of the Dunedin Consort under John Butt. They attempt to reconstruct the first performances (1791 & 1793). Not as consistent a recording overall, but well worth the investment.]
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on 23 December 2005
Mozart's Requiem must be the most recorded piece of sacred music ever. With literaly hundreds of recordings out there, there are plenty to choose from, and why should you chose this?
Simply because it gives you the most Mozart for you buck. This recording is, as you would expect from Gardiner and the EBS, made with period instruments and in the right pitch and temperament, and apart from the fact that this piece would have been written for a choir with boy sopranos, it's hard to imagine a sound closer to what Mozart had intended.
The strings on this recording are fewer and less powerful than in a modern symphony orchestra. This makes the considerable amount of brass employed by Mozart stand out clear and audible, giving the whole thing a more solemn sound. The very clever use of the brass instruments is usually drowned out in a modern symphony orhestra with the same amount of trombones as in this recording but with more than double the violins.
Everyone is excellent in this recording. Soloists, orchestra, choir and conductor gives a wonderful account. The only thing one could wish for, is for Sir John to let his hair down a little in places. If you are used to the high-powered readings of the Mozart Requiem from the likes of Karajan, Bernstein and others, this will sound a bit tame in places, and even though the Monteverdi choir is clear, precise and in tune all the way through, you have a feeling that they are holding back in the powerful places. The tenors on "Ne absorbeat eas Tartarus..." for instance. It is a fiendishly difficult line to sing, but the tenors in this recording pulls it off effortlessly, where other recordings offers a sound of 15 tenors desperatly trying to keep up, the gentlemen in this recording makes it sound so easy, and that contradicts the text a little.
That being said. This is a truly wonderful recording. It portrays the genius of Mozart and Süssmayr (there... I said it) without any of the clumsiness that riddles other recordings, especially those with a full symphony orchestra and a big, but less than elite choir.
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on 7 October 2013
I was recommended this disc, and I like it very much. What stroke me, was Gardiners ability to *not* push the music. It breathes naturally, which I think suits the music very well. Many of the "hidden lines" are heard because of his not pushing, and not using to much sound in the orchestra. The chorus are delivering a subtle and articulated account. Barbara Bonney delivers some beautiful phrasing indeed ! Highly recommended.
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on 13 February 2007
I have always been a lover of Mozart and this is I would guess his archetypal piece even though it was finished posthumously by Sussmayr after consultation with Mozart's widow Constance and indeed after others had tried.

All the majesty of a requiem mass is contained within aided by the brilliant conductor John Eliot Gardiner, a superb group of soloist (unlikely to be bettered in my view), the wonderful English Baroque Soloists and the equally splendid Monteverdi Choir.

Buy this and you will treasure it as much I have my copy which I have had for the last 18 years.
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The special insights Gardiner, his singers and orchestra, bring to this dramatic, spiritual and beautifully recorded performance of the Mozart Requiem make this disc very special indeed. Other favourable comments sum up the merits of this disc in greater detail and I simply subscribe to the view that it is one of the finest recordings, if not arguably the finest recording, of this work currently available and for me it heads my collection of recordings of this masterpiece.
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on 25 February 2016
This is the sort of performance that got JEG his name - absolutely brilliant in every respect. If you want this work, you will not get anything better.
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on 21 February 2014
THe monteverdi choir are wonderful, as are the soloists and the orchestra. I really like this version of the Requiem - a credible enjoyable performance.
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on 15 June 2015
A splendid performance. I cannot really imagine that there could be a better one.
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