Wednesday, 1 October 2008

170. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem (1791)


Title: Requiem
Performers: Academy of St. Martin In the Fields & Chorus
Director: Neville Marriner
Year: 1990
Length: 51 minutes


Here we are at the end of Mozart's output, quite literally, his beautiful scary and powerful unfinished Requiem. This is one of those pieces that are powerful not only for the music itself but also for the circumstances in which they were produced, a mass for the dead where the composer dies before finishing it.

Critics have said that Mozart would still be in the history books and recognised as the amazing composer that he was if this was the only thing he ever composed. And he probably would indeed, this is probably my favourite piece of Sacred Music, there is such horror to some of the pieces, such beauty to others that there is something for everyone here, well maybe except for someone in a dancing mood.

This is one of those pieces that really deserves close listening, it is nothing short of amazing. My favourite part is the Confutatis Maledictis, a section which is alternately panicked and quiet, an almost schizoid piece of music followed by the beautiful Lacrimosa, but the whole thing is an experience to be listened to beginning to end. Unfortunately you can tell that from the Domine Jesu onwards the brilliance is not as present, a sign that the Requiem was unfinished and completed by a student of Mozart.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

At the time of Mozart's death on 5 December 1791 he had only completed the opening movement (Requiem aeternam) in all of the orchestral and vocal parts. The following Kyrie (a double fugue), and most of the Sequence (from Dies Irae to Confutatis), is complete only in the vocal parts and the continuo (the figured organ bass), though occasionally some of the prominent orchestral parts have been briefly indicated, such as the violin part of the Confutatis and the musical bridges in the Recordare. The last movement of the Sequence, the Lacrimosa, breaks off after only eight bars and was unfinished. The following two movements of the Offertorium were again partially done -- the Domine Jesu Christe in the vocal parts and continuo (up until the fugue, which contains some indications of the violin part) and the Hostias in the vocal parts only.

Confutatis followed by Lacrimosa:

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