Ama Deus Ensemble: Mozart: Requiem and Exsultate, Jubilate

Ama Deus Ensemble: Mozart: Requiem and Exsultate, Jubilate

conducted by Valentin Radu; performed by Andrea Brown, Jody Kidwell, Kenneth Gamer and Ed Bara, Ama Deus Ensemble (Lyrichord, 2006), 1 hour 3 mins

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Field of Interest
Classical Music
Valentin Radu
Content Type
Music recording
1 hour 3 mins
Ama Deus Ensemble
Sub Genre
Andrea Brown, Jody Kidwell, Kenneth Gamer, Ed Bara
Date Recorded
Release Date
This Mozart Requiem mass in D minor (not D, as the back-cover tracklist erroneously reads) appears in a series of early music releases on the Lyrichord label, but it is performed on modern instruments. The Requiem is given a rather Romantic interpretation by the young Romanian-American conductor Valentin Radu and his Ama Deus Ensemble of predominantly Philadelphia-area musicians, complete with wide dynamic swings, sensuously shaped lines for the soloists and choir, blazing contrapuntal passages, and even a slightly flexible approach to tempo. It's a Mozart Requiem that would have been straight up the middle in Toscanini's day but now sounds a bit surprising. The recording has distinct positives. Radu's reading is fully worked-out, and it arrests the listener's interest from the opening bars of the work. The choir and soloists respond enthusiastically to his concept, and soprano Andrea Lauren Brown shows total confidence in Exsultate, jubilate, the virtuoso solo showpiece that opens the disc. The singers of the Ama Deus Ensemble are a cut above the average American choir in terms of intonation and control. In short, the performance is an exciting one. The negatives are equally distinct, beginning with the boxy, high-school-assembly sound. Radu's orchestra is not as smooth as his choir; the brasses are not on top of what's happening in the "Tuba mirum" vocal quartet, and the strings seem to be scrambling to keep up in fast passagework. The choir is quite large, and in the less-inspired sections of the Requiem, which was completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr after Mozart's death, it seems to be belting the music out. The picture is mixed, but these musicians, without exception, have accomplished the rare feat of making Mozart's troubled and rather forbidding swan song their own. ~ James Manheim, All Music Guide
Classical Music, Music & Performing Arts, Classical, Clásica, Clássica
Keywords and Translated Subjects
Clásica, Clássica

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