Requiem Mass in D Minor


Something for the weekend, Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor, left unfinished by his untimely death. No, composer Antonio Salieri, had no hand in his death, Amadeus being entertainment and not history, although I suspect that both Mozart and Salieri would have agreed that the theme would have made a grand comedic opera:


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  1. More sublime music, esp. appropriate for these last days of November and the Souls, is hard to imagine.

    Another calm, comforting and profoundly moving Requiem (a little different orientation than Mozart’s incomparable D Minor Requirem) which is a personal favorite, I find is Maurice Durufle’s Requiem (Opus 9, completed 1947). It ironically [perhaps] was actually commissioned by the Vichy Regime in 1941 to commemorate the war dead of 1940. Durufle labored on it for 6 years, basing it on Gregorian motifs and modalities, but wanting to create a sense of calmness and peace for the soul being welcomed into heaven.

    This is the Introit and Kyrie, by St John’s College, Cambridge choir:

  2. My husband was watching the ‘Bama vs Auburn without sound when he wandered into the kitchen looking for the source of a Mozart favorite. Thanks for introducing us to Durufle.
    Hard to believe it was 1984 when Amadeus and F. Murray Abraham won Oscars for best picture and actor. It was great entertainment despite being historically inaccurate. No doubt that the film introduced many viewers to classical music.
    Speaking of music, the Pope’s debut album,”Wake Up” is here What next?

  3. Favorite composer, favorite movie, not strictly historical but a delightful morality play. Poor Salieri, so consumed with envy. Envy no man. Each carries his own burden.

  4. The movie was of course a slander of Salieri. Mozart was certainly one of the high water marks of Western civilization. The Requiem is my favorite piece of music, and in many ways was Mozart’s greatest composition, and movingly, his last.

    My favorite version is Bernstein’s, which, while paced probably much slower than Mozart would have intended, is a very thoughtful version, and teases out the beautiful music. It alson has top-notch soloists, including Jerry Hadley, who tragically committed suicide apparently over his broken marriage.

  5. The idea of a pseudo-historical slander of Salieri only half occurred to me. A little reading tells me that, albeit competitors, they enjoyed a friendly acquaintance with one another. Salieri was one of a few musicians attending Mozart’s funeral and interment.

  6. And yet, as always is the case, the factual truth is always more fascinating: such as the 14-yr-old Mozart attending the Sistine Vespers to hear the famous Miserere of Gregorio Allegri (ca. 1770) when visiting Rome.

    This particular and elaborate setting was forbidden to have the score disseminated, even under prohibition by law with severe penalties, so that it would only be heard at the Sistine Chapel. As you know, Mozart went home and wrote it out from memory, returning a few days later to check a couple notes (I guess even Mozart got a couple notes “wrong.”

  7. I know musical geniuses are very unique: a music teacher of mine was taught by the great organist and composer Marcel Dupre (d. 1971). Dupre was renowned for memorizing every piece, no matter how fiendishly complex, and playing from memory.

    On one occasion, during one of the many summer concerts at Ste. Sulpice in Paris, Dupre was playing the cycle of the entire works of Bach — of course, from memory. Bill, my friend, was pulling stops and combinations: when the Mon. Dupre came up to the loft for the concert, before he started the first Prelude and Fugue (something like either the E Minor BWV 548 or the G Major BWV 542, something really tough for even a virtuouso with a score), he went to the music cabinet, picked up one of his own editions, spent about a minute reading through it, folded it up, put it back, locked the cabinet, went over to the bench, sat down and played it all, note perfect from memory. Bill confided to me, “Well, he was getting a little old and you know..) (He was about 75 at this point).

    Musical geniuses, like Mozart and their ilk, really are messengers of God, even if mortal themselves.

  8. Playing stringed instruments strictly by ear, and now wishing I had taken lessons in my youth, makes me humbly appreciative of what a great gift musical genius must be. At age 75, also a little old, I’ll just be thankful for what small talent I have, and very thankful for the bride of my youth who plays me like a violin. God Bless her.

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