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FULL MOZART REQUIEM Cologne 2024 Simon Halsey, Insun Min, Beate Koepp, Christian Dietz, Manfred Bittner

Video Recording from: YouTUbe     FULL VIDEO     Qries

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: WDR Klassik  
  • Date Published: 2024  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: YouTUbe     FULL VIDEO

Hardly any other work is as surrounded by myths and legends as Mozart’s Requiem: an “unknown messenger” gave the composer the commission, which he was, however, no longer able to complete. His students had to complete it, but in great secrecy, which is where the speculation began. One of the few things that is clear today is that the client was Count Walsegg, who wanted to create a musical monument to his wife, who died young. The passionate music lover liked to adorn himself with other people’s feathers: he ordered works from renowned composers, which he then passed off as his own. He did the same with Mozart’s Requiem. A few weeks after the messenger arrived, Mozart worked intensively on the Requiem; he was probably also interested in the hefty fee of 50 ducats, at least half an opera’s fee.

When composing such extensive works, Mozart had the entire composition finished in his head before he set about putting it all on paper. First he wrote down the most important parts, in the Requiem the choral parts, the organ bass and the main instrumental parts. Only then did he completely fill in the empty spaces. Mozart had to abruptly interrupt this work because he suddenly fell ill and died on the night of December 5, 1791. The Requiem remained as a torso: he only wrote down the first movement in full; the following sections remained fragmentary, of the last four There is not a single note from himself in each sentence.

Mozart’s widow Constanze now had to look after the family and had to see that she also received the second half of the fee that had not yet been paid. The client was supposed to receive a complete manuscript with a composition supposedly by Mozart. So she commissioned one of Mozart’s students after the other, but they all gave up after a short time. Only Franz Xaver Süßmayr took on the difficult task of not only filling the gaps in Mozart’s score, but also composing the final movements independently. In the end he copied the entire work, imitating Mozart’s handwriting throughout the score in a deceptively realistic manner.

Süßmayr wanted to complete the work in the spirit of Mozart. He felt quite justified in doing this, as a letter he wrote shows when the fraud with his additions was exposed. In it he justifies his actions, because he supposedly had “played through and sung” the movements with Mozart, and they had “discussed the elaboration of this work very often,” whereby Mozart had also “informed him of the course and reasons for his instrumentation.”
This letter still sparks discussions today: Did Süßmayr actually know Mozart’s intentions? What is striking is that in some places Süßmayr’s additions cleverly link individual movements together through motivic references – just as Mozart did in his way of composing. On the other hand, there are numerous clumsy composition techniques, some with glaring errors. So it seems reasonable to assume that Süßmayr actually draws on Mozart’s ideas, but implements them less brilliantly.

Although we only know Mozart’s musical text as a fragment, the core message of his Requiem is clearly audible: the music testifies to a hope that triumphs over the threat of death. Even the trumpet of the Last Judgment initially intimidatingly awakens the dead from their graves, but then continues consolingly in a lovely cantilena. Mozart put these thoughts into words earlier when he wrote to his father: “Since death […] is the true final purpose of our life, [… his image not only no longer has anything frightening for me […] but rather something that is calming and comforting!”

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