"This is a nice and quite adequate performance of the Mozart Requiem. Tempi may be a bit slow at times, but that isn't a problem on this music. There's only one flaw that makes me deny this one a fifth star. The soprano's Latin pronunciation is not good. She has a flaw apparently common among German singers in Latin, but on this work it's especially obvious, because of the text of her first solo: "Ti dicit hymnus, Dius, in Sion; it tibi ridditur votum in Jirusaleem." It just sticks out too much for me."
Von Karajan misses the mark
S. Gustafson | 04/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of the Requiem is heavy-handed and lacking in grace. The orchestra plays professionally, but sounds dark, unresponsive, and--dare I say it?--Germanic; the deft Italian influence that characterizes so much of Mozart's music is almost completely stifled under von Karajan's heavy hand.The Dies Irae comes close to capturing the music, although it lacks fire. The Recordare is also nicely executed, though perhaps not delicate enough. The Domine Jesu has some nicely musical moments, but the violins sound obtrusive in places. Only the Benedictus and the Agnus Dei managed to satisfy me completely.On the other hand, the Rex Tremendae, the Hostias, and the Sanctus are completely misconstrued musically. They're all much too slow. The Rex Tremendae in particular manages to obliterate the drama of the final judgment of the King of Terrible Majesty. Instead of crisp and demanding as it should be, the movement is slow, thick, heavy, and devoid of emotional content. Likewise, the Tuba Mirum's opening vocal delivery completely fails to capture the triumphant image of the Last Trumpet sounding.In my opinion, this CD is a tremendous disappointment. If you want a "large" production of the Requiem that's everything it should be, check out Robert Shaw/Atlantic Symphony Orchestra."
This is an excellent recording and a great deal.
Jay Burnside | Alabama, USA | 02/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say I disagree entirely with the reviews of this little bargain disk that describe the interpretation of Karajan's it contains as lifeless, artificial, or otherwise characteristic of the Herr Direktor's typical modus operandi. While with many other Karajan recordings I do indeed find that his work fails in the ways these other reviewers have indicated, I find this edition of Mozart's masterpiece utterly overwhelming. In fact, it may be my favorite recording out of many years' accumulated music. I bought it a few years ago because it was cheap and I wanted to hear Karajan's Requiem, but I never anticipated the amount of satisfaction I've obtained by it.
If one thing is certain about all of Karajan's interpretations, especially the one's that fail, it's his acute and unremitting high-mindedness, his characteristic drive to penetrate into the sublime in a piece. So, when his work fails, it typically fails because the force of intellect driving it has strangled the breath of life out of the music in its attempt to force the composer to give up his inner soul. You hear it in the Scherzo of his later version of Beethoven's Ninth especially. His concern for the extremely meticulous artistic rigor he believes great music demands of its performers is his classic feature. In this particular recording, for once, Karajan actually succeeds, and it is an astonishing thing. We hear the deeply mystical in Mozart's final work, in a way that none of the emotionally-drenched, overtly romantic conductors of the twentieth century that every liebhaber loves could have produced it. The control of the pacing throughout, especially in the Tuba, is ineffable, flawless. Karajan's meticulous command of the vocal dynamics is almost equally perfect; the Latin comes out as spiritually awesome, deeply personal yet classically ideal. The restraint that marks every measure is for me one of the most incredible features; again, the Tuba is the first part that comes to mind, but the quality is present throughout, lending a wonderful nobility to the more peaceful movements and investing the bigger movements with an incredible power. The complaints about the tempo made by the other reviewers are likely reactions to these major virtues of the performance misunderstood. The voices seem remote, medieval ghosts crying out to the living in a dream; they are never rushed or needlessly forced into extremes as is the case with other choral works managed by Karajan. Here they are sublime. As for the orchestration, the same two features pervade it as well, perhaps in even more excellent style. The scenes develop with a naturalness and effortlessness that is all the more amazing given that it's Karajan. In the heavy parts, especially the Dies Irae and the Rex, the force of the orchestra is unbelievable for its deliberateness, it seems as though it should be some stroke of luck, some fluke, but you know it isn't.
Real listeners should own this disk."
A very good recording for such little money
YASAR | UK | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bargain, give away. Very good recording. OK there may be better Requiems over there. But karajan's is good for me. But the real strngth of this CD is in the last 5 tracks. Maria Stader!! Best Laudate Dominum I have heard so far. And Best Exultate Jubilate there is. Full stop. She uses her voice as a musical instrument. How about that "Cadenza" with her voice at the end of the first movement !! She shows how this piece should be sung. Go and get it . You wll not regret it."