A Portrait of Mozart


This collection brings together some of Mozart's most popular and enduring works, including the Clarinet Concerto and his final work, the profoundly moving Requiem. This is another of Nimbus' highly successful bargain box sets. A Portrait of Mozart - Horn Concertos, Arias for Tenor, Symphonies Nos. 40 & 41, Basset Clarinet Concerto, 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' and the Requiem. Featuring:

Gundula Janowitz, soprano
Raúl Giménez, tenor
Oscar Shumsky, violin
Anthony Halstead, natural horn
The Hanover Band
Roy Goodman, director
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden



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Catalogue Number

CD 1

Symphony No. 41 in C major, K.551 'Jupiter'; Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K.466; Serenata Notturna in D major, K.239

Christopher Kite, fortepiano; The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman, director


CD 2 - Anthony Halstead, natural horn

Concerto in E flat, K.417; Concerto in E flat, K.495; Fragment in E, K.494a; Concerto in D flat, K.447; Concerto in D, K.412

The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman, director


CD 3

Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550; (Basset) clarinet Concerto in A, K.622; 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik', K.525

Colin Lawson, basset clarinet; The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman, director


CD 4 Oscar Shumsky, violin

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, K.218; Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, K.219

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor


CD 5 Raúl Giménez, tenor

Il Ré Pastore, K.208 Si spande al sole in faccia ; Se vincendo vi rendo felici

La Finta Giardiniera, K.196 Ah non partir ... Già divento freddo freddo

Don Giovanni, K.527 Dalla sua pace ; Il mio tesoro

Concert Aria, K.431 Misero! O sogno, o son desto?

Così fan tutte, K.588 Un' aura amorosa ; In qual fiero contrasto ... Tradito, schernito

Die Zauberflöte, K.620 Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

La Clemenza di Tito, K.621 Se all' impero, amici Dei

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Barry Wordsworth, conductor


CD 6 Requiem Mass in D minor. K.626

Gundula Janowitz, soprano; Julia Bernheimer, mezzo-soprano; Martyn Hill, tenor,; David Thomas, bass

The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman, director

The Hanover Band Chorus, Richard Day-Lewis, chorus master


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.


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