Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra – Mozart: Requiem (2003) [LINN 24-96]

Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO), conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras
– Mozart Requiem (Levin Edition) / Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K546 Studio Master
2003 | FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:49 minutes | 1,11 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: Linn Records | Covers & Digital booklet

The Levin edition of Mozart’s compelling Requiem performed in thrilling splendour by Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. “The string lines carry all the expressive weight one could want, and the woodwind and brass have a sovereign authority”.

Mozart neither disparaged Bach, nor considered it in any way retrogressive to be influenced by Bachian counterpoint. In 1782, as director of Baron van Swieten’s Sunday concerts in Vienna, he played Bach fugues, made transcriptions of Bach fugues, and wrote fugues of his own in tribute to his connoisseur patron’s enthusiasm for baroque music. In 1789, en route to Berlin, he visited Bach’s Thomaskirche in Leipzig where he improvised for an hour on the chorale Jesu meine Zuversicht. Bach’s Leipzig successor, Cantor Doles, sat beside him at the organ, pulling the stops and saying ‘old Sebastian Bach has risen again.’ The visitor, it was observed, was ‘a young, modishly dressed man of medium height,’ who played ‘beautifully and artfully for a large audience.’ The choir sang Bach’s fine motet, Singet den Herrn, in his honour, and Mozart examined Bach’s autographs, ‘the parts spread all around him, held in both of his hands, on his knees, and on the adjoining chairs.’ Two years later, in The Magic Flute, he would give the two Armed Men stern, beautiful, hauntingly Bachian music to sing.

The Fugue in C minor dates from six years earlier, when Mozart was first immersed in contrapuntal studies. Originally written for two pianos, it was arranged in 1788 for strings and given the slow, sombre introduction which so strikingly adds to its intensity, yet which Mozart described as no more than ‘a short adagio for two violins, viola, and bass, for a fugue I wrote a long time ago.’ The adagio is filled with bold, expressive harmonic progressions. The fugue, once set in motion, rolls on relentlessly to its close. The music, playable by string quartet or string orchestra, has a hard-edged severity quite uncommon in Mozart, but confirming how the baroque and the rococo could co-exist in classical Vienna. A dark, somewhat spooky, conductorless performance of it was given at Herbert von Karajan’s funeral in 1989.

01 – Introitus (Requiem aeternam)
02 – Kyrie
03 – Dies irae
04 – Tuba mirum
05 – Rex tremendae
06 – Recordare
07 – Confutatis
08 – Lacrimosa
09 – Amen
10 – Domine Jesu
11 – Hostias
12 – Sanctus
13 – Benedictus
14 – Agnus Dei
15 – Lux aeterna
16 – Cum sanctis tuis
17 – Adagio & Fugue in C minor – K546 – Adagio
18 – Adagio & Fugue in C minor – K546 – Fugue

Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
Sir Charles Mackerras – conductor
Recorded at Caird Hall, Dundee, UK 14-16 December 2002.

Susan Gritton – soprano
Catherine Wyn-Rogers – contralto
Timothy Robinson – tenor
Peter Rose – bass