Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died, aged 35, leaving his best-loved choral work - the Requiem - unfinished. He only completed the first movement Requiem aeternae, drafted a few others, and died later in the day he of writing the first 8 bars of the aptly named Lacrimosa (weeping). His pupil Franz Süssmayr finished the composition and claimed that Agnus Dei and Sanctus were all his own work. There have been many other versions of the Requiem, but it is Sussmayr’s that Thames Philharmonic Choir is singing on 10 March at Cadogan Hall, because it is ‘the most genuine’. Perhaps Franz should share the byline?
The classical music critic and writer, Tom Service, writing in The Guardian newspaper in December 2011, was in no doubt about what Mozart achieved in the Work. The composer, he said, drew inspiration from other composers such Handel and Bach, but introduced new and enthralling combinations of orchestral colours, turning ‘his Requiem into a reflection and intensification of earlier models of musical grief.’
‘The music of the Requiem is uniquely heartbreaking,’ he wrote. ‘There's an endlessly fascinating enigma in the astonishing music Mozart did manage to compose.’
TICKETS FOR MOZART REQUIEM on 10 March at CADOGAN HALL, LONDON.
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