ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Best Mozart Requiem Recordings

Updated on September 25, 2010

There are hundreds of recordings of Mozart's Requiem. The following are four of the best Mozart Requiem recordings available, in my opinion. I've chosen them based upon their individuality as well as the critical acclaim that each has received. For new listeners the first two are probably the best introduction to this phenomenal work, while the last two are two highly original performances for those looking for unique interpretations. I have titled each selection according to the conductor. Also included are links to purchase the CD's or MP3's from Amazon. iTunes is another great resource as well as MP3 Panda, where you can find entire albums for around $1 and individual tracks for about .15 cents.

Mozart Requiem - Marriner

Sir Neville Marriner

This recording of the standard Sussmayr version is regarded as one of the most interpretively faithful and satisfying recordings. Marriner, who contributed greatly to the soundtrack of the film Amadeus, delivers Mozart's Requiem in a manner both masterful and mature. There is no deliberate showiness or desire to provide a unique interpretation here. Instead, Marriner lets the music itself deliver its own powerful and moving message. For an initial introduction to Mozart's Requiem this is probably the best all around choice. Even those listeners who have ventured beyond the Sussmayr version still highly regard Marriner's recording of it.

Mozart Requiem - Davis

Sir Colin Davis

Sir Colin Davis' reading of Mozart's Requiem is full of operatic grandeur and is highly recommended to those who enjoy a big chorus, big orchestra, and big sound. It is forceful in the climatic sections while remaining warm and expressive in the softer passages. Of particular note is the wonderful solo quartet from the "Recordare" part - it seems to have come right out of an opera. This recording is another great choice for those new to the Requiem, primarily because it is a great example of the "middle way". It is neither interpretively bold nor pedantically lifeless, instead it pleases on all accounts.  This recording also features a few other choral gems by Mozart.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

In brilliant and true SACD sound this second recording by Harnoncourt of Mozart's Requiem is highly original. You won't find that "flowing wall of sound" that many other performances give though. There is plenty of big sound, but not in the usual romantically overblown way. Instead, it's punchy lines and striking contrasts are delivered for maximum emotional impact. From the eerie terror of the Dies Irae and the casual elegance of the Kyrie, through to the restless and anxious Lacrimosa, the listener finds a strikingly new intrepretation of Mozart's conversation with death.

Harnoncourt assembled young and vibrant soloists for the chorus which, though small, has a highly focused and sharp impact. The conductor's very own period instrument ensemble, the Concentus Musicus of Vienna, likewise provides the needed urgency and strength for such an edgy interpretation.

You'll find no romantic sentimentalism here, but rather an enigmatic rendering of the vulnerable and uneasy emotions which the idea of death evokes in us all - something that a Requiem Mass is meant to convey. Whatever your preferences, the sonic clarity of this SACD by itself is reason enough to try it.

Sir Charles Mackerras

Sir Charles Mackerras' 2003 recording of the Requiem has been universally acclaimed by critics. He uses the Robert Levin score, who amended the Sussmayr completion of the Requiem, in order to rectify some obvious discrepancies. Here, you'll find a slightly altered Lacrimosa, Sanctus, and Benedictus. Two of the primary changes are with the Hosanna fugue and the Amen fugue (it doesn't modulate like the Sussmayr version), which are more in keeping with the Mozartean church fugue style.

However, Levin didn't seek to discard or destroy Sussmayr's version outright, but simply sought to critically evaluate it. What we end up with is a Requiem that truly sounds as if it was entirely completed by Mozart. If you are at all familiar with Mozart's Mass in C-minor or even his symphonies then you'll surely recognize the decidedly Mozartean feel that this version of the Requiem has throughout. As an added bonus this recording comes with Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor. It's also available in the amazingly clear SACD format.

You'll certainly find more great recordings, but in the interest of brevity I limited my picks for the best Mozart Requiem recordings to four. Happy listening!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)