This evening the Hartford Chorale and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra gave the third of four performances of Mozart’s Requiem (Süssmayr). Thursday’s performance really sizzled, and garnered a great review in The Hartford Courant:
[The first part of the article contained some generalities and a review of the other major work on the program.]
After intermission we heard the Süssmayr completion of the Mozart Requiem. Mumford rejoined the orchestra as mezzo-soprano soloist, and was joined by soprano Patricia Schuman, tenor Andrew Stenson, and bass-baritone Matthew Burns. This all-star cast of soloists was individually impressive on occasion, but seemed to have difficulty hearing one another, especially across the podium, and balances in the solo quartet passages were seldom satisfying.
The unique sound world of this work was heightened by the use of two basset horns [huzzah!], and the orchestra played clean rhythms and found perfect balances that supported [but] did not cover the singers. Kuan took brisk tempos, especially in the Kyrie and Rex tremendae. She unfolded the work with care and allowed us to savor its tasty passages without lingering too long.
But the real superstars of the evening were the members of the Hartford Chorale, prepared by their music director Richard Coffey. The huge choral force attacked the challenging music of the Kyrie with amazing vitality and sang its tricky figuration with clarity. They had incredible power but also listened across the stage and all four parts of the chorus could be heard without difficulty. They produced bigger than life during the “Dies Irae,” and the high tenor music of the “Confutatis maledictis” was rounded and unstrained. One of the great tests for any chorus in the Requiem is that the music of the Kyrie returns as the “cum sanctus tuis in aeternum” to close the evening. One can hardly blame a chorus if they tire and are pushed around by the demands of this fugue the second time around. Not the Hartford Chorale. They didn't tire. They blazed again.
The big sound of the Hartford Chorale made this performance a statement of the multitude.
HSO Presents Engaging Bernstein And Mozart Program; Hartford Chorale Joins Performance
By Jeffrey Johnson, Special to The Courant
The Hartford Courant, April 11, 2014