Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mozart – Requiem – Nikolaus Harnoncourt

After last two centuries of historical and musicological research problem of authorship of Mazart’s missa pro defunctis is still vivid question. Sometimes it looks like the authorship issues were not as much interesting alone as connected to this research question of composers intentions. And this could be the crucial question for almost every artistic event. In this special case intentions are meaningful for investigating what parts are real Mozart’s and what are only styling. Romantic legends say about poisoning composer and creating in last minutes work becoming his artistic testimony. The effect were dozens of solemn, heavy mourning interpretations of always the same Süssmayr’s version. Just like Mozart wasn’t the one who decided about the style of classical era. In last decades of twentieth century raised the whole movement for creating new vision of final Mozart’s oeuvre, by correcting evident mistakes, by playing it on instruments from Mozart’s time or just by interpreting the work more classical than romantic way.

Mozart – Requiem – Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1982)

Important recording of the Requiem was made by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his orchestra Concentus musicus Wien for Telefunken in 1982. This great rendition was founded on the traditional basis of well known Mozart’s Requiem structure with additions by Franz Xaver Süssmayr but in new and improved instrumentation  by Franz Beyer. Great sound of the orchestra and again Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor are playing the main narrative role. Choir have the full spectrum of dynamics and articulation and its sound is perfectly set in meaningful interpretation. Soloists, Rachel Yakar, Ortrun Wenkel, Kurt Equiluz and Robert Hall are relatively less independent than in other recordings, treated rather as a chamber continuation of the choir part. Anyway these four great voices with this unbelievably precise performance are demarcating new standards of vocal expression. Partly it is also effect of improved sound of instrumental parts. Softly and deeply, tragic consciousness of inevitable death is coming to be listener’s intimate experience. Under Harnoncourt’s baton Requiem is closer to the performing style of Coronation Mass than to many other renditions of this work. When this comes out of knowledge about the style and artistic technology, musicians can follow text as it was open space for many possibilities. But only talented musicians can follow the Mozart’s music in such narrative manner. And maybe this is what makes Harnoncourt’s recording so much exceptional.

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