Requiem in d minor, W. A. Mozart
One of music history’s most famous unfinished masterpieces, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem in d minor has always been shrouded in mystery and even terror. The composer’s widow Constanze used her husband’s untimely death to start a number of thrilling rumours, from claims of a mysterious masked commissioner to Mozart’s delusional conviction he was writing the funeral mass for himself. In reality, we know that Count Franz von Walsegg had ordered the Requiem for the anniversary of his wife’s death. Thanks to the efforts of Mozart’s student Franz Xaver Süssmayr, the score was completed in time for the commemoration and performed on 14 February 1792. Though Constanze’s claims were likely exaggerated or downright false, they helped attract even more attention to Mozart’s final composition, which it most definitely deserves. As audiences at St Paul’s Within the Walls Church in Rome will find out, the Requiem, though left unfinished, shows the Austrian wunderkind composer in top musical form.
True to his methodical style of composition, Mozart tackled the Requiem from its beginning and worked his way forward. At the time of his early death on 5 December 1791, he had completed a clean draft of the introduction with its famous ascending theme and booming choirs, and he had a detailed sketch of the Kyrie. Parts of the famous Lacrymosa and Offertory movements were also available, as well as many musical ideas and elements scattered across loose sheets of paper. Süssmayr likely took advantage of the score’s rough state and claimed large parts of the final product as his original creation or at least majority contribution. Yet, connoisseurs of Mozart’s work will recognise his fantasy, invention, and expressivity.
The talented vocalists and the Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Roma rise to the occasion and present a riveting rendition of Mozart’s Requiem at the historic St Paul’s Within the Walls Church. In the Eternal City’s heat, the timelessness and impact of this masterpiece cannot be challenged.