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CDJapan

Reviews: Mozart: Requiem - Böhm

Reviews: 2

Review by RedFox November 28, 2010 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   
I have just recived the second release of this magnificent
recording. I bought the RBCD version of this recording from
Deutsche Gramaphon in 2002, and I enjoyed it very much, however
I had a lot to complain about its sonical quality.

I have a number of other recordings of this piece of music,
partly on rbcd, partly on sacd. For instance:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Requiem KV 626
Sound: stereo & multichannel (Hybrid)
Tomowa-Sintow, Baltsa, Krenn, Dam, Berlin PO,
Karajan (rbcd, sacd)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Requiem KV 626
Kyrie KV 341
Rubens, Markert, Bostridge, Müller-Brachmann, La Chapelle Royale,
Orch. des Champs Elysees, Herreweghe
(rbcd)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Requiem KV 626
Auger, Cecilia Bartoli, Cole, Pape, Wien PO,
Solti (Live-Aufnahme vom 5.12.91 in Wien)
(rbcd)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Requiem KV 626
Christine Brewer, John Tessier, Atlanta Chamber Chorus & SO,
Runnicles (rbcd)
(This has come out on sacd as well.)

In spite of this the recording conducted by Böhm is the one
I like best.

(a) Sonically it is much better than the rbcd version.
(b) It is dignified with a very wide stage. The movments
are not fast and this is why I like it so much.
(d) The chorus is surrounding and embracing me: I have the feeling
that I am sitting in the middle of the 5-th or 6-th row.
(e) My flesh creeps especially when I am listening to the last two tracks
(Benedictus, Agnus Dei).

I recommend it to all lovers of classical music.
(My system is stereo only!)

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Review by canonical February 8, 2011 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is unquestionably the finest performance of Mozart's requiem I have yet heard on SACD ....
Karajan's performance on SACD is scarred by a woeful performance by the choir. Harnoncourt's SACD version was not to my taste at all, and decidedly mediocre.

This version is stately, grand, reverential, with appropriate tempi to match, and a superb cast of singers. And the problematic Wiener Singverein under Karajan are replaced here by a very fine performance by the Vienna State Opera chorus.

The problem with the disc is that it reveals everything. That would normally be a definite plus. In say "Tuba mirum" for just soprano, contralto, tenor and bass ... the sonics are just wonderful. That track alone might justify the purchase of the disc. But, more generally, in the full choral sections ... especially the louder ones ... the technology of the time simply didn't handle that sort of scale well ... and the recording 'breaks up' ... seems to become distorted. Inbetween, when the soloists sing without choir ... the disc comes close to my concept of Requiem perfection. But the choral sections are not an audibly 'pure' experience; I found them verging on irritating, to the extent that I could not live with it, and I sold my copy.

This, of course, raises the problem of how to rate sonics on analog re-issues. On the one hand, one can rate on a RELATIVE scale comparing to the sonics of the CD (which unfortunately I do not have). And on the other hand, one can rate on an ABSOLUTE scale - in essence, whether it sounds pleasant to the ear or not. In this case, I have adopted an ABSOLUTE rating for the sonics which is not a reflection of the transfer (which may be very good indeed), but rather, I suspect, a reflection of the limits of the recording technology of the time, and how much of that comes through in this very revealing release.

Summary: I am still looking for a version I can live with on SACD.

Performance:5
Sonics: 3
Stereo (no mc)
Recording resolution: Analogue 1971 (24 bit 96 kHz conversion)
Superjewel box: Nope - SHM cardboard packaging. The packaging is silly: it is not unattractive, but it is very difficult to remove the disc ... so much so that one feels one almost has to spike a fingernail into the sleeve to get a grip to remove it ... hardly appropriate for a high-end product that is meant to be protected as well as possible. The notes (no booklet) are all in Japanese, other than the track listing on the rear cover which are provided in English and Japanese. Also, it is a non-standard oversized mini-LP package that does not fit into a standard CD rack. As it is paper-based, it is unlikely to last well.

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