Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) died before he could complete his Requiem Mass in D minor. The work possess a unique reputation in Western music: Music scholars do not know precisely how much of the work is the sole product of Mozart's imagination and how much his friend Franz Xaver Süssmayr contributed. The Requiem's text comes from the Roman Missal of Mozart's day, and the piece is divided into four principal sections: the Introitus, the Sequenz, the Offertorium and the Communio.
The first movement of the Requiem, the Introitus, is further divided into two sections: the Requiem aeternam and the Kyrie. The Introitus, like the rest of Mozart's Requiem, features a Latin text. The Kyrie, however, is in Greek. This section is one of the most ancient parts of the Catholic Mass. At the time of Mozart's death, he had completed the Requiem aeternam. He had also finished the vocals for the Kyrie, but he left the orchestration incomplete.
Six smaller parts make up the second movement of Mozart's Requiem, the Sequenz: the Dies irae, the Tuba mirum, the Rex tremendae, the Recordare, the Confutatis and the Lacrimosa. Mozart left completed vocals for most of the Sequenz, stopping abruptly with the eighth measure of the Lacrimosa. This has led many music scholars and historians to believe that the Lacrimosa is the last thing Mozart ever composed.
The Offerorium, the Requiem's third movement, is made up of five sections: the Domine Jesu, the Hostias, the Sanctus, the Benedictus and the Agnus dei. Unlike the previous movements, when Mozart died, he left most of the Offertorium not composed. Süssmayr, who had been Mozart's assistant for nearly a decade, worked from notes left by the composer and from his knowledge and appreciation of Mozart's sensibilities. Although some music critics assail his Sanctus and Benedictus, suggesting that Süssmayr lacked Mozart's strong sense of harmony, nearly all praise his Agnus Dei.
The Communio, the fourth and final movement of Mozart's Requiem, contains only one section, the Lux aeterna. For the Communio, Mozart seems to have left almost nothing for his assistant to work with. This prompted Süssmayr to re-use music from earlier movements. Although some scholars speculate Mozart may have instructed Süssmayr to borrow from the Kyrie in the final movement, others believe this was done in a spirit of haste, as Süssmayr attempted to complete the Requiem for Mozart's former patron Count Walsegg.
- "Mozart's Requiem: Historical and Analytical Studies, Documents, Score"; Christoph Wolff; 1998
- "Mozart: A Life"; Peter Gay; 2006
- "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography"; Piero Melograni and Lydia G. Cochrane; 2008
- "Mozart: An Introduction to the Music, the Man, and the Myths"; Roye E. Wates; 2010
- CalTech.edu: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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