on 14 January 2013
Many of Mozart's works are sublimely moving, and this is no exception. The Requiem is a work of staggering dramatic tension, with frequent shifts in key and tempo tearing you this way and that. But of all the versions I have heard, this is the most beautiful by far, with the muted tones of period instruments perfectly balanced against the rousing voices of the choir. If I have one gripe it would be with the jaunty pace of the Tuba mirum, which loses some of its gravitas as a result. But that impression fades into insignificance as the voices take over, topped by the unbelievable lucidity of Jonty Ward's treble. How a boy of that age can sing with such immense compassion and profound empathy is beyond comprehension; the result is a thing of unspeakable beauty. As a footnote, I would comment on the fine packaging of this CD (including booklet insert and no plastic casing), which does full justice to the quality of the recording. Hats off to everyone involved.
on 9 December 2013
As the greatest musician who ever lived lay dying, with his recently commissioned Requiem Mass incomplete, Mozart gave instructions to his Musical Assistant, Sussmayer, as to how he wished his final work to evolve. This magnificent recording features this "original" score (one of many) and to my ears it definitely has all the hallmarks of a genuine Mozart composition. New College Oxford are very enthusiastic about Mozart's music and this shines through very brightly on this gorgeous CD. All the soprano solos are performed by boy choristers (a practice with which Mozart would have been very familiar).The boys sing beautifully with remarkable confidence and self assurance, but also with real sensitivity and feeling. They are a credit to the choir and they make a valuable contribution to the overall excellence of this disc. The choir are faultless and the instrumentation and sound balance are perfect. If you are looking for an authentic, brilliant and above all, deeply moving account of this important work, then look no further. 5 stars? This deserves all the stars in the Milky Way!
on 28 June 2011
Focused clarity of texture, good bright sound and brisk tempi make this an exhilerating listen, but the chief excellence is that this is an expert, committed choir who sing liturgically as a matter of daily course, giving the performance carefully honed balance and thrilling authenticity. All solo parts are sung by two highly accomplished boys - Jonty Ward and James Swash - and men from the choir - Guy Cutting and Jonathan Howard, who all sing with clean articulation, totally secure technique and beautiful sense of line, plus bags of drama. Edward Higginbottom does not see the Requiem in any sense as an opera manque, or a vehicle for big name soloists to strut their stuff. From fastidious attention to detail in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenemnt's playing to the New College Choir's confident attack, this is above all a Mozart Requiem for the cognoscenti.
on 12 February 2012
This is a beautiful recording of this stunning work. I wasn't expecting the soloists to be drawn from the choir however and for the treble and alto to be youngsters. This did not detract from my liking of this recording but if it was to be my sole experience of this work, I would probably choose a more conventional recording.