Requiem of the week- Mozart

The Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is almost certainly the best known requiem, since its creation (and non-completion) was presented in the 1984 movie Amadeus. Here’s a segment in which Salieri helps Mozart write his Confutatis. Parts of the Requiem show up in some three dozen TV shows and movies, such as The Big Lebowski and Watchmen.

As noted in the Wikipedia, it was “composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer’s death on December 5. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the February 14 anniversary of his wife’s death. It is one of the most enigmatic pieces of music ever composed, mostly because of the myths and controversies surrounding it, especially around how much of the piece was completed by Mozart before his death.

“The Sussmayr completion of the Requiem is divided into fourteen movements, with the following structure:
I. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (choir and soprano solo)
II. Kyrie eleison (choir) {used in commercials, too]
III. Sequentia (text based on sections of the Dies Irae):
Dies irae (choir)
Tuba mirum (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)
Rex tremendae majestatis (choir)
Recordare, Jesu pie (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)
Confutatis maledictis (choir)
Lacrimosa dies illa (choir) [which almost always make me cry]
IV. Offertorium:
Domine Jesu Christe (choir with solo quartet)
Versus: Hostias et preces (choir)
V. Sanctus:
Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (choir)
Benedictus (solo quartet, then choir)
VI. Agnus Dei (choir)
VII. Communio:
Lux aeterna (soprano solo and choir)”

It is clearly my favorite requiem, as it is one of the two scores I ever purchased so that I can sing along, the other being Messiah by Handel. I have sung this in performance at least thrice. Once was in the spring of 1985 for which I had a now long-long cassette recording. Another time was sometime in the mid-1990s. The last time was on September 11, 2002, when my friends Tim and Gladys and I crashed the Albany Pro Musica performance to honor the first anniversary of 9/11. (Wasn’t REALLY “crashing” as such.)

Here’s the Wiener Philharmoniker performance, with those nice section breaks. And here are scores and more performances.

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