City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mozart's Requiem, Usher Hall, Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 13 March 2015

Show Details
The Usher Hall
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Philippe Herreweghe (conductor)
Julia Kleiter (soprano), Diana Haller (mezzo soprano), Benjamin Bruns (tenor), Michael Nagy (bass), SCO Chorus (Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra)
Running time: 

Mozart was the predominant composer at last night’s Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert at the Usher Hall. Conducted by the Flemish conductor Philippe Herreweghe, who is an authority on Baroque music, the concert began with the SCO chorus singing the seldom performed Mozart choral composition Kyrie – “Lord have mercy.” Written in the melancholic key of D minor a decade before his Requiem, which is also written in this key, it is a short, haunting choral composition with the nuances beautifully executed by the choir.

Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony No 8 in B minor was next on the programme. It was Schubert who became dissatisfied with the composition and chose not to complete it. This happened with many of his works and his mental attitude may have been affected by the onslaught of syphilis – an illness he died of at the age of thirty-one.

Written in two movements the sweet melody in the first movement is very well known and has a romantic feel but both movements are interspersed with turbulent, brooding passages expressed particularly in the second movement by the natural horns. Herreweghe seemed a bit tense when he first started to conduct the concert but by the time he had reached the Schubert piece his body became more relaxed and he completely engaged in the score.

Mozart’s moving Requiem in D minor was the last composition on the programme and indeed it was his last composition. It ended up being his own requiem as he died before completing the work and his wife Constanze commissioned his pupil Sussmayr to finish it. Mozart on his death bed wrote up to the exquisite Lacrimosa: “Ah! That day of tears and mourning, from the dust of earth returning, man for judgement must prepare him.”

It begins with the chorus and soprano: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and may perpetual light shine up0n them.” Julia Kleiter was the soloist and her beautiful flawless soprano voice sounded exquisite The Requiem continues its emotional journey with occasional memorable quartets who were sung by Julia Kleiter; Diana Haller – mezzo soprano; Benjamin Bruns – tenor and Michael Nagy – bass.

The SCO chorus, under the direction of Gregory Batsleer, are particularly adept at interpreting the emotional passages in choral pieces and succeed in creating most moving performances. And the string sections in particular created a beautiful sound throughout.

Friday 13 March. 7.30pm at Glasgow City Halls.