The version of Mozart’s Requiem most frequently performed today – and heard on this recording – is Süssmayr’s completion. Many have labelled his edition as a rushed, student effort (his own opera, Moses, was postponed due to his working on the Requiem), while others believe that no new edition or reworking, irrespective of how learned the scholar or composer, could ever replace the contemporaneous expressions inherit in Süssmayr’s score.
What is, however, unusual, is this 1950 recording with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Josef Krips, receiving its first international release on CD. It is of particular interest because of the employment of young Warner Pech and Hans Breitschopf – treble and alto respectively – in place of the usual soprano and mezzo soloists. Along with the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, this all-male recording incorporates a compelling peculiarity to an already intriguing masterpiece.
“This really is a performance in church, so to speak, and it is wholly free from operatic vices … The intimate note is struck at the outset … The soft end of Rex tremendae is most moving … The sotto voce singing of sopranos and altos in the quiet portions of Confutatis are angelically beautiful … and [this recording contains] a great deal of magical sound.” Gramophone