So he’s been dead for a few centuries – whatever happened to the phrase “gonebut not forgotten”? I always seem to read about pop and rock groups, but whynot try something classical? And who better than the classical music geniushimself, deified for centuries for his talent – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?
Mozart is renowned for being a musical child prodigy, and throughout hislifetime he composed many symphonies, concertos and operas. He is famous forcompositions such as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, The Marriage of Figaro and TheTurkish March. The piece I will critique is probably his most famous masterpiece,the Requiem.
The Requiem is a compilation of 16 awe-inspiring pieces, eachwith its own facet of mourning. The Requiem opens with Requiem aeternam, the”eternal requiem.” This is a song of grief, with a slow tempo, sombernotes, and the plea to God imploring an eternal requiem for those lost.
The movements contain every aspect of eighteenth-century death: mourning,judgment by the Lord, Heaven and Hell.
The music reflects the emotions usuallyfelt in response to mortality. The beginning section is despondent and sorrowful.Dies irae, a driving opus, describes the judgment of souls. Rex tremendaedescribes the Holy Lord and is written in respect to Him, with a graceful andpowerful flow.
Confutatis is a furious and demanding work of art paintinga picture of the obvious confusion of death. This section, which happens to be myfavorite, begins with a strong impression of anger and confusion led by thetenors and basses. It then moves to the altos and sopranos with a soft rhythm andangelic tones. The sudden changes in mood certainly justify its title, whichmeans “confusion.”
Confutatis leads to Lacrymosa, with notes sosorrowful they sound as if the performers are indeed in tears. After thesemovements come Amen, Domine Jesu, Agnus Dei and others.
Though Mozartwrote the score, he died at the age of 35 before it was completed. His work wasthen passed to his student, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, who finished it byrepeating previous movements. He completed Lacrymosa and composed Agnus Deihimself. The final two movements, Sanctis and Benedictus are an appendix he alsowrote.
So while Mozart is indeed the one in the limelight, Sussmayralso deserves kudos for his labor.
Mozart’s Requiem is pleasant to theears and calming to the soul. These melodies will also help you think as theyclear the mind for contemplation. It is a treasure, holding within it the legacyof an artistic mastermind.
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