Orchestra of the Antipodes
Anthony Walker, conductor
ABC Classics CD 476 4064
reviewed by Neville Cohn
Oceans of ink have been spilled – and will so continue – about which hand completed which section of Mozart’s Requiem. If these endless speculations – and musings about which illness he might have been suffering from as he wrote this, that or the other episode – bring satisfaction to those who utter them, then good luck to this endless pageant of nitpickers.
For those whose prime satisfaction comes from listening to the work, here is yet another in a very long list of recordings of the Requiem.
Piety informs just about every moment of this performance which has about it an inner quietness that is often very moving. Gratifyingly, there’s not a hint here of that over-the-top approach favoured by some.
Cantillation is at its supple best in the Kyrie which is presented with gratifying clarity at speed. And there is splendid attack and follow-through., too, in the Dies Irae. I particularly liked the quietly uttered, deeply felt measures of the Recordare sung, beautifully, by the vocal quartet of Sara Macliver (soprano), Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo soprano), Paul McMahon (tenor) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (bass baritone). And buoyant momentum makes for gratifying listening in Domine Jesu Christe.
It is only in the Introitus that one senses a need for a more calmly fluent unfolding of some of the most profoundly poignant music in the repertoire.
Soprano Sara Macliver is at her virtuosic best in the much-loved Exultate, Jubilate.