Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Mozart, Requiem

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 19:43:38 -0800
From: Allen H Simon
Subject: Mozart Requiem editions--compilation

Original post:

>I'm planning to do the Mozart Requiem this spring, and I'd like your
>collective wisdom regarding editions. I'm looking at the followingZ
>Peters (the old standard)
>Baerenreiter (also standard, probably more reliable)
>Oxford (heavily edited by Maunder, with Sussmayr's additions in an
>Kunzelmann (ed. Franz Beyer, apparently re-orchestrated)
>1. If you chose from several edition, which did you choose and why? If you
>picked one that's not listed above, that's OK too.
>2. Comment on the reliability of the orchestral parts of the edition you
>3. If you used the Maunder edition, what did you do about the appended
>Sussmayr movements? Did you do them in order?

Results synopsis:
Beyer - 4.5
Baerenreiter - 2.5 (I'm counting L.W. as half for this and half for Beyer)
Levin (publ. Hanssler) - 2
Maunder - 1 (several people strongly against it)
Kalmus - 1

Results follow.


I am strongly biased (that's the right word) in favor of the Beyer
edition, which I think has much more interesting parts for the
basset horns especially, and also bassoons and trombones. The Beyer
parts are excellent, tho when I last used them (I've used them twice)
they were rental only. The chorus sang from old Peters or Kalmus or
something, and we had to make very few changes to accommodate the
Beyer full score and parts.

I really like it! I am not persuaded at all by the Maunder on the
whole, and will probably never do it.

I haven't heard the new Levin, but I've heard it's wonderful, but that
is said by someone about all the editions! Rilling recorded it, I
think, or maybe Christie and Les Arts Florissante, or maybe both. I

David Griggs-Janower


Excuse the highly opionated statement to follow but I spent a good
amount of time researching the Maunder, Levin and the old Sussmayer
traditionals. Change your plans and do the new completion by Robert D.
Levin, published by Hanssler distributed by Collegium. He uses the best
of history (Sussmayer) and offers a brilliant completion. Do not even
consider the Maunder (he threw away the baby with the bath water).

Scott Dean


I have done the Beyer edition and highly recommend it. The parts are
impeccably marked and cued, with thoughtful page turns, etc.
The orchestration is lighter, with many of Sussmayr's inept part-writing
"corrected." It is must much more fun for a chamber choir to sing, I think,
when not forced to oversing over a too-dense orchestration.

Rick Kvam


In 91 I used the Beyer edition. It's excellent and the reorchestration is
far superior to S=FCssmayr's.

Milton Olsson, DMA


We performed the Mozart in 1991 and I ended up with the Beyer edition for
the following reasons:

1) While I was intrigued by Maunder's arguments about completing the
Requiem in a different manner from Sussmayer, since our choirs had little,
if any prior experience singing major works, for the majority, this would
likely be the one Mozart Requiem that they might ever sing. I should stick
to something a little more mainstream. Since 1991 there are several other
completions which have been published...each quite viable.

2) Availability of inexpensive scores - we could borrow Schirmer scores
which easily were reconciled with the Beyer.

3) Beyer's criteria for making orchestration changes is very well-thought
out and clearly explained in the preface to the orchestral score.

4) Harvard Music History Professor Wolff made an impassioned point at the
San Antonio ACDA National Convention arguing against Maunder and other
completions. He asserted that even if Sussmayer was a 2nd rate composer,
he was an 18th century 2nd rate composer, with a personal immersion in the
style of the period and enough of a relationship with Mozart for his
completion to be more valid than completions by historians and theorists
removed 200 years from the date of composition.

You might find it interesting that we chose to add two pieces of chant sung
by a treble choir visually hidden from the audience to our performance
which was on Mozart's death date. The chant which immediately precedes the
Introit in the Liber: "Subvenite Sancti Dei" this led directly to the
opening d minor tonality of the Introit "Requiem" and we concluded the
concert with the trebles singing the last chant from the Requiem service:
"In paradisum: deducant te Angeli" which segued from the final open d
chord. All through the preparation rehearsals I had a concern that I was
monkeying too much with the musical moment, however, the doubts evaporated
in the first orchestral rehearsal which included the chant. The expression
on the faces of the rather jaded journeyman pros who were filling out the
orchestra affirmed that the addition of the chants added to the mood of the
concert. This was confirmed by the rather stunned silence that occurred in
the performance...the audience literally held their breath before
applauding. This "completion" is something I will choose to do again if I
get the opportunity to conduct the Mozart in the future.

David Otis Castonguay


Kalmus edition of the vocal score -- because of time and monetary constraints.
Some day I'd like to try the Maunder edition, or at least use his completion
of the Amen fugue to "close" out the Lacrymosa. If you use Maunder, you
might wish to stick to the Sussmayr stuff if your chorus's experienced
members don't have "time" to learn all of Maunder's completions of Mozart's

Bruce MacIntyre, Brooklyn College/CUNY


Have you looked into Robert Levin's edition? It's definitely a rising star
as far as "authenticity" is concerned, and he knows Mozart much better than
Maunder. His Amen to the Lacrymosa is better because of this.

As far as "traditional" (if your audience either doesn't know or won't care
who wrote what movements) I'd go with Peters.

Erica M. Lohmann


When I did the Requiem in 1991, I studied all the editions you mentioned
and read about the merits of Maunder and Beyer. I ended up using the
Barenreiter and was quite happy with it. Maunder and Beyer have both made
good cases for reediting the work, but in the end I don't think their
versions sound as good as the standard Mozart-Sussmayr. There is also
something to be said for performing the work in the "traditional" version.

John Jost


I performed the Mozart Requiem this past summer. I used the Baerenreiter
edition (Barenreiter does very good work), used Kalmus orchestral parts,
and my score was a Dover edition (extremely inexpensive), which is an exact
photo copy of Breitkof & Hartel. This arrangement worked very well both in
terms of editions and also costs.

However, the next time that I perform this work, I want to try the new
Robert Leven edition. It is fantastic. He has re-written many of the
parts that Sussymer wrote. I have a recording of this edition and have
also heard it in a live was most impressive.

All the best!
Leroy Wiens


I must put in my vote for the Maunder. He is a much better student of
Mozart that Sussmayer was, and the music is far superior.

Erik Reid Jones


I did the Mozart with my high school choir last spring. We
(the orchestra conductor and I) chose the Barenreiter for two
reasons: I had used it several times myself, both as chorister
and soloist, and the orchestra parts were readily available.
(I've sung the work from the Peters and Kunzelman - I like the
Kunzelman, but its cost was more than I could swing on my
budget. Also, the orch. parts weren't as easy to come by.)

One minor word of caution about the orchestra parts in the
Barenreiter: there is a mistake in the bassoon part on the
Benedictus, I think in the introduction - can't remember
exactly where and don't have the part at hand. Otherwise,
our experience was good and went off with little, if any,

Best of luck with this most rewarding and fulfilling work.

All best,
Margaret Anne Butterfield