Mozart & Rutter Requiems
Mozart's Requiem is one of the most famous choral works in the classical repertoire, but how much of it did Mozart actually write? Surely even Mozart would have struggled with composing a deeply emotional and complex choral Requiem on his death-bed in 1791.
When Count von Walsegg's wife Anna died on Valentine’s Day 1791, Walsegg, an accomplished musician himself, anonymously commissioned the piece. Mozart became consumed by the work, believing he had been cursed to write a requiem for himself, because he was about to die.
The opening movement, Requiem aeternam, was the only section to be completed. Mozart only finishing the first few bars of the Lacrimosa. It was brushed into some sort of shape by Mozart’s only composition pupil, Sussmayr, but down the centuries there has been much scholarly dissatisfaction with his work. Regardless, the Requiem still sounds wonderful to most ears.
3. Dies irae
4. Tuba mirum
5. Rex tremendae
9. Domine Jesu (Offertorium)
10. Hostias (Offertorium)
13. Agnus Dei
14. Lux aeterna
Rutter's Requiem was written in 1985. In Catholic liturgy, a requiem is a Mass for the Dead, and as such involves strong tones both of mourning and loss as well as elements of hope and eternal life as reflected in Christian belief.
Both the first and second movements, Requiem aeternam and 'Out of the Deep', set very dark, low, sombre tones. The use of strings at the beginning of 'Out of the Deep' is very effective, together with funeral-dirge like vocals. This contrasts greatly with the Pie Jesu, light and spiritual. The Sanctus is almost playful in aspect, and the Agnus Dei and Lux aeterna draw the listener higher and higher into the fullness of expectation of God's presence.
The first performance of the full work was at the splendidly named Lovers' Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas in 1985.
Psalm 130: Out of the deep
Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd