Mozart: Requiem by La Cappela Nacional de Catalunya, Le Concert Des Nations & Jordi Savall

It’s 1955 and a 14-year-old creeps into a church in Igualada, Spain, where a rehearsal is being conducted by the local director of the conservatoire. Spellbound, the boy sits listening to the choir rehearse with the organ and string quartet. They are practicing a work that only just managed to survive into the modern era. Impressed by the ‘originality of the various themes and the perfection of the counterpoint and the richness of the modulations’ the young boy decided then and there to make music his life. That boy was Jordi Savall, world-renowned viola da gamba musician and director of Hespèrion XXI, who on this album presents his second recording of that seminal work: Mozart’s Requiem KV 626, from 1791.

In the 1990s Savall, with his beloved wife soprano Montserrat Figueras (1942–2011), La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and Le Concert des Nations, recorded the Requiem for release on his label, Alia Vox. Now, 25 years later, he joins with these same ensembles to again present this work which is so close to his heart.

For those who don’t yet know, a key part of what Savall does is strip away any modern assumptions that might be brought to the works he chooses, and tries to bring them back to the purity of what the composer wrote, including performing on contemporary instruments and referring to original scores (such as they are for this work). The thing about the Requiem though, and one of the reasons it continues to be a favourite of concert halls around the world, is that it always sounds amazing. With Savall at the helm, it can only soar into the heavens with the ‘lux aterna’ (eternal light) ‘and the great power of consolation that emanate[s] from this majestic piece’. For those who know, I don’t need to say anything else, but if you are a fan of Mozart and haven’t discovered Savall’s recordings of his works, you must do yourself a favour and add this album to your collection.

Cover image for Mozart: Requiem

Mozart: Requiem

La Cappela Nacional de Catalunya, Le Concert Des Nations, Jordi Savall

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