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Reviews: Mozart: Requiem - Harnoncourt

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Reviews: 5

Review by chriscmore October 13, 2004 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I tend to prefer the more cinematic interpretations of Requiem, being a little faster, more dynamic with a more dominant bass, however this is still a wonderful version. It's more lush, more emotional. The sound quality is beautiful, with a delicate surround mix, and very well balanced - everything is perfectly placed in volume and location. I'm not a bass freak - I keep my dialed down to avoid anything "boomy", but I found the overall sound just a little nonexistant on the bottom octave. But this is a sin of omission, which is far better than presenting the listener with something that shouldn't be there (sin of commission). Lastly, Mozart or not, I do love the final "Amen" that is omitted from this recording, where they tried to be more acedemicaly sound to what the Requiem really should have. I miss the "Amen," but then again I also enjoy the movie "Amadeus" which is for the most part "based" on a true story.

Some are bothered by room and people noises in between movements, and this recording has them, but I personally enjoy them. This recording therefore feels very intimate and startlingly real to me.

This is the best Requiem I've heard yet, but I still am left a bit hungry. I've gotta believe that there's another recording out there that may get me to throw out all the other versions I have. This one is just shy of that, so I have to stick with 4 stars.

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Review by jmvilleneuve January 23, 2005 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have a love/hate relationship with this SACD. It is a splendid interpretation which pushes the Mozart requiem toward maximum dramatic intensity and which underlines contrast between the moments of acceptance and the moments of angers (or of fears of the divine). But this energy which comes partly because it is a live recording, is also the weakness of this SACD. Particularly in the stronger passages the sound is really flat. It does not have any perception of sound depth between the choir and the orchestra. The recording is more appropriate in the softer passages, or when one or more of the 4 soloists are singing.

I have a more complete review on my website at

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Review by 2-channel January 25, 2006 (8 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Harnoncourt at his most self-indulgent I'm afraid, scarcely giving the music time or space to breathe. Hectic and overdramatic.

The claustrophobic effect of the close microphone technique, with the choir practically in the laps of the players, and with virtually no soundstage depth, reinforces the breathless quality of the performance. Wolfy would not be impressed.

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Review by Papahem March 30, 2013 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I am really at a loss as to the tepid to poor reviews, here. I have a pretty good (sane) system: Maggie 1.7 's, NAD 375 BEE and Oppo BDP-105; superb SVS sealed box Ultra-13 subwoofer; wire all around Paul Speltz; good Furman line conditioner. I can still hear reasonably well. And what I hear is nothing short of sublime. This sacd is normally discounted heavily on-line. Picked mine up for $7.99! Would have paid 3 x that!! Own the Von Karajan, too, but quite frankly prefer the Harnoncourt: More fire, more air, more je ne sais quoi...posting system bona fides not for jollies or wankery, but so folks know the basis of the basics - peace out.

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Review by Omweso January 28, 2014 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Controversial perhaps, but here is my review:

The SACD format cannot save the results of poor microphone placement, an under-rehearsed choir and a poor post-production edit (if there was one at all).

- This has all the hallmarks of a single-take, rather than the best of several performances
- Choir is under-rehearsed: many lines start weak as singers are unsure. Sibilant consonants ('S's & 'T's) are inconsistent.
- The choir is muddy, the result of poor microphone placement. The poor basses are inaudible (and I am singing that part in our choir at the moment - this recording is useless for my practice)
- The mix is poor - the whole choir is right-sided and far away, with the instruments too near, and too dominant for a choral piece.
- The Alto microphone is faulty and cannot handle forte sections, it actually breaks up during the big Lacrimosa 'Amen'

I can hear all of this on my iPod in stereo as well as on my 5.1 home theatre system, so no excuses for others not to notice...



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