Over the last few years, Mozart's Requiem has appeared in a number of different guises: an edition by Franz Beyer that rewrites the Sussmayr material, one by Richard Maunder that altogether eliminates it (and possibly more besides), and various others that have tried to do something about the flaws which the familiar version admit tedly embodies. This new version by Robbins Landon accepts Sussmayr where there is no alternative, but for the earlier movements it goes back to the pre-Sussmayr phase in the work's history, to the time just after Mozart's death when his widow handed it to the very capable Viennese church music composer and close friend of Mozart's, Joseph Eybler, for completion. Eybler, a more skilful composer than Sussmayr, returned it incomplete, for reasons that are not entirely clear (only then, or possibly one stage later still, did Constanze pass it on to Sussmayr); but the work he did is sound and sensible, and Landon has used it for the first five movements of the Sequence (from the Dies irae to the Confulatis), supplementing it himself in three of those movements where the orchestration was obviously left unfinished. His own work is discreet and tasteful, and wholly in the style in which Eybler (or Mozart, for that matter) might have done it himself (well, probably Mozart would have done a bit more). Landon commendably states in his note that a Viennese Kapellmeister is far better qualified than any modern scholar to complete the work and that his own contribution has aimed "to interfere as little as possible" with the original reconstructions. One other textual point: at the ending of each "Osanna", four bars are added, to mitigate the abruptness of the Si]ssmayr version; this follows the text in the Beyer version (published by Eulenburg), which is not, however, acknowledged.
The performance is sober to a degree. I thought, while first listening to it, that it was largely a matter of slow tempos, but comparison afterwards with other versions showed no very significant difference, taken overall. There is some good solo work, above all from Gundula Janowitz, whose lovely soprano floats on the top of the ensemble to fine effect, and from the sterling David Thomas at the bottom. There is a very capable choir, mixed rather than male.