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Mozart Requiem

posted Mar 8, 2014, 7:47 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Mar 8, 2014, 7:48 AM ]

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine (“Give them eternal rest, O Lord”) are opening words of a prayer from the Mass to remember someone who has died. The mystery behind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor, K. 626 reads like a Hollywood plot. In 1791, Count von Walsegg commissioned the piece anonymously so that he could pass it off as his own composition. (Even Mozart himself didn’t know who he was composing it for.) Tragically, the 35-year-old Mozart died after he had finished only about two-thirds of it. His friend Süssmayr finished the work, and unintentionally thwarted the pretentious counts plan to plagiarize by presenting a public benefit performance for Mozart’s widow. Peter Shaffer fictionalized this story in his 1979 play and subsequent movie Amadeus, altering a few facts (as if they weren't already suggestive enough!)

I’m singing it this Friday night, March 14th in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale. There’s a saying that a tree bears its finest fruit just before its death, and many consider this Mozart’s greatest masterpiece.