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Hommage à Chopin
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Requiem K.626
Christina Landshamer (soprano), Ingeborg Danz (soprano), Robert Getchell (tenor), Matthew Brook (bass-baritone)
Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Collegium Vocale Gent
Accademia Chigiana Siena/Philippe Herreweghe
Picture format: 16:9; Sound format: Dolby Digital 2.0; Region Code: 0 (Worldwide).
rec. 17 October 2010, Holy Cross Church, Warsaw

What is Mozart's Requiem doing in a "Homage to Chopin"? Apparently, Chopin asked that this work be performed at his funeral, though there seems to be some disagreement whether or not this is the case. It was included at his funeral though, at the Madeleine Church in Paris, on 30 October 1849. This DVD seems to be a memorial to Chopin, hence the performance of the Requiem. I'm sorry I can't be sure; the notes in English don't say very much, and some of the other notes in Polish are not translated.
Whatever the case, this is Mozart's requiem in "full liturgical context". What that means is that between sections of the work, a priest speaks. I'm not sure what he's saying, but his presumably speaking the texts related to the Requiem.
The performance here is excellent, and the filming quite good, though the church is a bit cramped, and the lighting is distracting at times. The small forces, both orchestral and vocal, give a wonderful colour to the work. The soloists are all excellent, and musically the work is delightful.
While the way the Requiem is interspersed with the liturgical texts is, perhaps, interesting the first time, after that it's a drag. You can choose to view only the parts of the Requiem, but you must choose the next section from a menu after the end of each one, so you lose any continuity; Oh, and background music plays once the selection menu displays. While it is understandable that, as part of a mass, the organizers of this concert wanted to present the work in its context, it doesn't really come through very well on DVD.
This is a tough call. A fine work, well performed and well recorded, but marred by an odd presentation in the context of a mass.
Kirk McElhearn
Kirk McElhearn writes about more than just music on his blog Kirkville.