Highlights from Mozart's Requiem

Amadeus - Salieri helps Mozart write his Requiem (The Confutatis Movement)

Requiem, K. 626 (1791)

In the summer of 1791, Mozart received one half of a handsome fee from an anonymous person to commission a requiem mass.  In early October, after he completed the Magic Flute, his health whithered frightfully.  He became convinced that he was writing his own requiem.  As death approached, his primary concern was to complete the score and receive the rest of the payment for his family.  Only hours before his last breath, he was in tears, singing in a faint whisper the "Lacrimosa."  Death intervened before he could finish it, and the work was finished by his pupil Franz Sussmay from his master's wishes and sketches.  Fortunately, Sussmayr's contribution was inspired, as if for a moment he became possessed of Mozart's genius.  In a letter to his father, Mozart had written:

Since death, strictly speaking, is the true end and purpose of our life, for several years I have made myself so familiar with this true, best friend of men that his image holds nothing frightening for me anymore, but much that is calming and consoling.  And I thank God that he granted to me the blessing of providing me with the opportunity for recognizing in Death the real key to our true happiness.  I never go to bed without considering that perhaps, as young as I am, I may not see the next day dawn.

 

Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart

"People are wrong who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times."--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1. Introitus

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,et lux perpetua luceat eis.Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

 

Translation

 

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them. Thou, O God, art praised in Sion, and unto Thee shall the vow be performed in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come. Grant them eternal rest, 0 Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them.

 

2. Kyrie

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

 

Translation

 

Lord have mercy upon us.

Christ have mercy upon us.

Lord have mercy upon us.

 

The Day of Judgement from the centre panel of the Memling Triptych in Gdańsk.

Recommended

The Essential Canon of Classical Music
The Essential Canon of Classical Music

This book focuses on the key composers of each age. Dubal spends a lot of time on the artistic development of each composer. He does a good job describing the emotional impact of each of their major works and often provides a quotation from another composer who was impacted by that work. Finally, he provides a list of recommended CDs to get a beginner started in building a collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 
Mozart: Requiem, KV 626
Mozart: Requiem, KV 626

Solti is in top form here conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in a very powerful and fiery performance of this most famous of requiems. While some conductors take the Kyrie pretty slow, Solti kicks it in high gear and keeps it moving. The soloists are all magnificent especially Cole and Pape. The Dies Irae and the Confutatis are more powerful here than I have ever heard them before. The chorus is very fine and sings with power and a lovely round sound. The Lacrymosa and Domine Jesu are incredibly beautiful.

 
Mozart - Requiem / McLaughlin, M. Ewing, Hauptmann, Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernstein
Mozart - Requiem / McLaughlin, M. Ewing, Hauptmann, Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernstein

Mozart's requiem mass is one of the most sad, yearning, powerful pieces of music ever written. In this particular performance, Bernstein conducts in typical fashion, bringing power and emotion to this incredible Mozart masterpiece--a great performance that draws out all the intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and fear from this piece.

 
Mozart: Requiem
Mozart: Requiem

It's a wonderfully dramatic recording. This comes from the same conductor (Sir Neville Marriner) who recorded the soundtrack to Amadeus.

 
Amadeus
Amadeus

Salieri, a now near forgotten contemporary of Mozart's, secretly loathes Mozart's crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That's the heart of Salieri's torment--although he's in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart's talent and career, he's also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. That such magnificent music should come from such a vulgar little creature strikes Salieri as one of God's cruelest jokes. The film's eight Oscars include statuettes for Best Director Forman, Best Actor Abraham, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.

 

The Entire Sequentia Gradualis

3. Dies irae, dies illa

Solvet saeclum in favilla,

Teste David cum Sibylla.

 

Quantus tremor est futurus

Quando judex est venturus

Cuncta stricte discussurus.

 

Tuba mirum spargens sonum

Per sepulcra regionum

Coget omnes ante thronum.

 

Mors stupebit et natura

Cum resurget creatura

Judicanti responsura.

 

Liber scriptus proferetur

In quo totum continetur,

Unde mundus judicetur.

 

Judex ergo cum sedebit

Quidquid latet apparebit,

Nil inultum remanebit.

 

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus,

Quem patronum togaturus,

Cum vix justus sit securus?

 

Rex tremendae majestatis,

Qui salvandos salvas gratis,

Salve me, fons pietatis.

 

Recordare, Jesu pie,

Quod sum causa tuae viae,

Ne me perdas illa die.

 

Quaerens me sedisti lassus,

Redemisti crucem passus,

Tantus labor non sit cassus.

 

Juste judex ultionis

Donum fac remissionis

Ante diem rationis.

 

lngemisco tamquam reus,

Culpa rubet vultus meus,

Supplicanti parce, Deus.

 

Qui Mariam absolvisti

Et latronem exaudisti,

Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

 

Preces meae non sum dignae,

Sed tu bonus fac benigne,

Ne perenni cremet igne.

 

Inter oves locum praesta,

Et ab haedis me sequestra,

Statuens in parle dextra.

 

7. Confutatis maledictis

Flammis acribus addictis,

Voca me cum benedictis.

 

Oro supplex et acclinis,

Cor contritum quasi cinis,

Gere curam mei finis.

 

8. Lacrimosa dies illa

Qua resurget ex favilla

Judicandus homo reus.

 

Huic ergo parce, Deus,

Pie Jesu Domine,

Dona eis requiem.

 

Translation

 

3. Day of wrath, that day

Will dissolve the earth in ashes

As David and the Sibyl bear witness.

 

What dread there will be

When the Judge shall come

To judge all things strictly.

 

A trumpet, spreading a wondrous sound

Through the graves of all lands,

Will drive mankind before the throne.

 

Death and Nature shall be astonished

When all creation rises again

To answer to the Judge.

 

A book, written in, will be brought forth

In which is contained everything that is,

Out of which the world shall be judged.

 

When therefore the Judge takes His seat

Whatever is hidden will reveal itself.

Nothing will remain unavenged.

 

What then shall I say, wretch that I am,

What advocate entreat to speak for me,

When even the righteous may hardly be secure?

 

King of awful majesty,

Who freely savest the redeemed,

Save me, O fount of goodness.

 

Remember, blessed Jesu,

That I am the cause of Thy pilgrimage,

Do not forsake me on that day.

 

Seeking me Thou didst sit down weary,

Thou didst redeem me, suffering death on the cross.

Let not such toil be in vain.

 

Just and avenging Judge,

Grant remission

Before the day of reckoning.

 

I groan like a guilty man.

Guilt reddens my face.

Spare a suppliant, O God.

 

Thou who didst absolve Mary Magdalene

And didst hearken to the thief,

To me also hast Thou given hope.

 

My prayers are not worthy,

But Thou in Thy merciful goodness grant

That I burn not in everlasting fire.

 

Place me among Thy sheep

And separate me from the goats,

Setting me on Thy right hand.

 

7. When the accursed have been confounded

And given over to the bitter flames,

Call me with the blessed.

 

I pray in supplication on my knees.

My heart contrite as the dust,

Safeguard my fate.

 

8. Mournful that day

When from the dust shall rise

Guilty man to be judged.

 

Therefore spare him, O God.

Merciful Jesu,

Lord Grant them rest.

 

11. Sanctus

Sanctus. Sanctus, Sanctus,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth!

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

Osanna in excelsis.

Translation

Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God Sabaoth.

Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

 

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