Thriller and intrigue have lengthy surrounded the genesis of Mozart’s Requiem in D minor.
In early July of 1791, an “unknown, grey stranger” visited the composer, bearing a fee for a Requiem from an nameless patron. On the time, Mozart was working tirelessly to finish two operas, The Magic Flute and La clemenza di Tito. By the point he turned his consideration to the Requiem the next September, his well being was in terminal decline. He labored obsessively with the haunting premonition, “I worry that I’m writing a Requiem for myself.”
The 1984 movie, Amadeus, casts the repeated visitations of the shadowy messenger in a supernatural gentle, and exhibits Mozart on his deathbed, dictating the Requiem to his modern, Antonio Salieri. Salieri was not current on the time, nor did he poison Mozart, because the fictionalized account alleges. But, the dying composer gave his scholar, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, directions on how you can end the work. In his closing days, Mozart sang by means of sections of the Requiem along with his spouse, Constanze, and a gaggle of mates which included Benedikt Schack, the tenor who sang the position of Tamino in The Magic Flute. In accordance with Schack, on the evening of his dying, Mozart sang the alto half and obtained so far as the Lacrimosa earlier than tearfully placing the rating apart.
On the time of Mozart’s dying on December 5, 1791 on the age of 35, solely the Requiem and Kyrie actions have been accomplished. Voice components and detailed drafts, which included bass strains for the Dies irae by means of the Hostias existed as sketches. The key patron was later revealed to be Rely Franz von Walsegg, an beginner musician who wished to cross off the Requiem as his personal composition in reminiscence of his not too long ago deceased spouse. Constanza was fearful that much-needed cash from the fee would evaporate if it was recognized that Mozart had died earlier than finishing the Requiem. She requested a sequence of composers, together with Franz Beyer and Abbé Maximilian Stadler, to complete the work. Every crammed in a portion of Mozart’s blueprint, however in the end returned the rating. Ultimately, the Requiem’s completion fell to Süssmayr, who rewrote all the rating in his personal hand and falsified the date of completion with the inscription, di me (“by me”) W.A. Mozart, 1792. Beethoven declared that “If Mozart didn’t write the music, then the person who wrote it was a Mozart.”
Mozart’s Requiem is ready in D minor, the shadowy, supernatural key of the Piano Concerto No. 20 and the ghostly Commendatore Scene of Don Giovanni. Its scoring favors the darkish sonorities of low and mid-range devices which embrace basset horns, bassoons, and three trombones (an instrument with deep liturgical and supernatural connotations). The mournful introduction pays homage to Handel’s funeral anthem, The methods of Zion do mourn, HWV 264. The affect of Handel continues with the double fugue of the Kyrie, based mostly on a passage from Messiah, HWV. 56 (“And along with his stripes we’re healed”). The Dies irae erupts with trumpet fanfares and tempestuous tremolo within the strings. The Tuba mirum begins with an impressive assertion by the solo trombone, which turns into a brand new, conversing voice. The concluding sections of the Requiem return to the music of the Kyrie with new phrases. Süssmayr returns to the music of Mozart’s hand and offers the work with a dramatic bookend. The third is omitted from the ultimate chord, and we’re left with primal open fifths.
Right here is Philippe Herreweghe’s recording with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees and La Chapelle & Collegium Vocale Royale. The soloists are Sibylla Rubens (soprano), Annette Markert (alto), Ian Bostridge (tenor), and Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass). Right here is the Latin textual content with English translation.
5 Nice Recordings
- Mozart: Requiem in D minor, Ok. 626, Philippe Herreweghe, Orchestre des Champs-Elysees, La Chapelle & Collegium Vocale Royale Amazon
- Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic (1991 live performance recording)
- Karl Böhm and the Vienna Philharmonic
- John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir
- Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Robert Levin’s alternate completion)
Featured Picture: “The Church of Gentle” in Osaka, Japan (1989), Tadao Ando
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