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LFF's MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK (02-19-2006)

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
LFF’s MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK (02-19-2006)

Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart’s Requiem, his last and final work, is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of musicological history. By now I am sure most people are familiar with the movie “Amadeus”. A fascinating movie, “Amadeus” takes us through parts of Mozart’s life and focuses mostly on the rivalry in between Salieri and Mozart. While there was a rivalry between the two, the movie tends to take quite a bit of poetic license to flesh out exactly what happened during Mozart’s final years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Requiem sequence. In the movie, we see a sick Mozart being aided by a jealous and somewhat anxious Salieri. Mozart’s wife eventually comes home to see that the Requiem is penned partially in Salieri’s hand. This is very far away from the actual truth.

The actual truth is that Mozart never had Salieri at his bedside to help him finish the Requiem. In fact, it was never finished and the last movement of the Sequence, the Lacrymosa, breaks off after only eight bars and was unfinished. The following two movements of the Offertorium were again partially done -- the Domine Deus in the vocal parts and continuo and the Hostias in the vocal parts only. In the 1960’s a sketch for an Amen fugue was discovered, which would have concluded the Sequence after the Lacrymosa (a few scholars dispute that this Amen fugue was intended for the Requiem, but the majority of Mozart scholarship believes that it was).

Then how is it that we have a completed Requiem? Well, historically, after Mozart died, his widow Constanze was keen for the incomplete work to be finished in order to receive the other half of the payment which Mozart was given upon commission of the work. Josef von Eybler was one of the first composers to be asked to complete the score by Constanze. Eybler worked on the movements from the Dies Irae up until the Lacrymosa, at which point he felt unable to complete the remainder, and gave the manuscript back to Constanze Mozart.

The task was then given to another junior composer and pupil of Mozart, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, who borrowed some of Eybler's work in making his completion. Süssmayr added his own orchestration to the movements from the Kyrie onward, completed the Lacrymosa, and added several new movements which would normally comprise a Requiem: Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. He then added a final section, Lux Aeterna by adapting the opening two movements which Mozart had written to the different words which finish the Requiem mass, which according to both Süssmayr and Mozart's wife was done according to Mozart's directions.

There is some possibility other composers may have helped Süssmayr, or that he might have discovered sketches by Mozart amongst the papers for the Requiem. The elder composer Maximilian Stadler is suspected of having completed the orchestration of the Domine Jesu for Süssmayr. Whether he did or not is a subject of much debate.

Over recent years, especially after the movie Amadeus, we have been lucky enough to have had numerous artists record the Requiem. Even more recently we have had the luck to see other completions of Mozart’s Requiem. These completions sought to “fix” the errors of Süssmayr and present an error free Requiem while others took great deviations from the norm in an attempt to present a true to life Mozartean Requiem. In order to sum it all up and not drag on this article too much, here are some brief summaries of the different editions and well as the recommendations of the week. Enjoy.

Mozart
- The TRUE original version
- Not fully orchestrated. Only fragments
- Only finished Introit completely
- Lacrimosa breaks off after 8th bar

Sussmayr
- Most popular version and most performed version
- The "traditional" version
- Was able to draw off of partial completion by Joseph Eybler
- Added settings of Sactus/Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Communio
- Lacrimosa is anticlimactic
- Osanna fugues are prefunctory
- Benedictus has harmonically static middle
- Ignored Amen fugue sketch
- Amen ends with two chords at the end of Lacrimosa

Marius Flothuis
- removal of the trumpet parts from the Sanctus and the transposition of the Osanna in the Benedictus.
- two additional measures between the Benedictus and the Osanna, which gives the opportunity of a transposition from B flat to D major.
- removed all 'automatic' doublings of the vocal lines by the trombones

Beyer
- Lacrimosa orchestration is very different, with different violin figuration than the traditional completion.
- Sanctus has a new ending

HC Robbins Landon
- Combines the completion efforts of Mozart's contemporaries/students, Freystaedtler and Josef Eybler together
with the usual, "stanard" edition by Mozart's pupil Franz Suessmayr.
- Freystaedtler and Eybler's efforts are best heard in the in Sequenz (Dies Irae to the Lacrimosa) where the
trumpets and timpani are more restrained (as in the Rex Tremendae).

Maunder
- rejection of the Sanctus, Osanna fugue, and Benedictus
- adds an Amen fugue based on a Mozart sketch
- Amen fugue (excessively?) chromatic


Levin
- Lacrimosa slightly altered to lead to Amen fugue
- adds a non-mudulating Amen fugue based on a Mozart sketch
- re-writes of the Sanctus, Osanna fugue, and Benedictus
- models the Hosanna fugues after the Hosanna fugues in Mozart's C-Minor mass
- basset horns switch to A clarinets in the Sanctus
- Second half of Sanctus resolves tonal discrepancies of Sussmayrs version
- Second half of Benedictus has been slightly revised
- Benedictus is now connected by a new transition to a shortened reprise of Osanna fugue
- Osanna fugue is now in original key of D major
- Structure of Agnus dei has been retained but infelicities of Sussmayr version have been averted in second and third strophes.
- Final Cum santis tuis fugue text has been altered to correspond to norms of era


Druce
- Trumpets and timpani are taken out of the Confutatis
- Benedictus is practically a basset horn concerto (based on KV 453b)
- adds an Amen fugue based on a Mozart sketch
- re-writes of the Sanctus, Osanna fugue, and Benedictus
- Lacrymosa is composed anew after bar 8 amd parallels Dies Irae
- Sanctus is an adaptation of Sussmayr version
- Osanna has a fugual movement
- Agnus Dei retains vocal and basso continuo parts
- Lux aeterna has longer instrumental introduction


-------------------
-THE BEST REQUIEMS-
-------------------


THE MOZART EDITION
- Spering, Chorus Musicus, Das Neue Orch, by Opus III (Original Period Instruments)
- Kurz, Wurttembergische Philharmonie, Wurttembergischer Kammerchor

THE SUSSMAYR EDITION
- Spering, Chorus Musicus, Das Neue Orch, by Opus III (Original Period Instruments)
- Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra By Deutche Grammophon
- Herreweghe, by Harmonia Mundi France (Original Period Instruments)
- Marriner, St. Martin in the Fields, by Philips

The FLOTHUIS EDITION
- Jos Van Veldhoven, Netherlands Bach Society by Channel Classics

THE BEYER EDITION
- Welser-Most, London Philharmoic by Capitol
- Marriner, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields by Decca (Best)
- Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien by DHM

THE HC ROBBINS LANDON EDITION
- Weil, Tafelmusic, Tolzer Boys Choir by Sony

THE MAUNDER EDITION
- Hogwood, Academy of Ancient Music, w/ Emma Kirby by Decca

THE LEVIN EDITION
- Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra by Linn (Best)
- Pearlman, Boston Baraque by Telarc
- Labadie, La Chapelle Quebec by Dorian Records
- Rilling, Bach Collegium by Hanssler

THE DRUCE EDITION
- Norrington, London Classical Players, Schutz Choir of London by Virgin Records (Original Period Instruments)
post #2 of 28
Amazing stuff ain't it.... I've played it many times, everytime still gives me goosebumps. My favorite recording's the Hogwood.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
Amazing stuff ain't it.... I've played it many times, everytime still gives me goosebumps. My favorite recording's the Hogwood.
Indeed. It is my favorite classical work. I own more than 20 versions and I never get tired of listening to it. The Hogwood is definately in my top five.
post #4 of 28
Wow, this thread has been immensely informative to a Requiem noob like me, who've just recently discovered it. But my wallet won't be happy, because I'm now curious to try out the different recordings of it.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz
Wow, this thread has been immensely informative to a Requiem noob like me, who've just recently discovered it. But my wallet won't be happy, because I'm now curious to try out the different recordings of it.
Cool! I am very happy to read that. I know of one more version called the "Knu Vad" Version but I have not heard it nor know what the differences are. I understand about the wallet. I say you go with the Levin Version first, particularly the Mackerras version on Linn Records. Get the SACD/Hybrid version. The move on to the Beyer edition performed by Harnoncourt and then see if you can find the fragments. In my experience I found that listening to the fragments first and then moving on was a much more enriching experience.
post #6 of 28
Thanks for the Music Pick of the Week.

Looking foward to more.

-Ed
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
Thanks for the Music Pick of the Week.

Looking foward to more.

-Ed
Anytime Ed! There will be more coming every week - Check your local listings and wallet for availability!
post #8 of 28
Superb overview! And what a good idea - a classical pick of the week!

Be sure to include some Bach, now
post #9 of 28
LFF,

How is the Harnoncourt (sacd) one different to the Hogwood? Thinking of picking it up. Yourmusic.com has it for 5.99.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
LFF,

How is the Narnoncourt (sacd) one different to the Hogwood? Thinking of picking it up. Yourmusic.com has it for 5.99.
It is a fantastic recording and more than worth the 5.99 price. I paid $20.00 and still think it is worth it. The soloists are superb and the sound is way above par. As I listed above, Harnoncourt uses the Beyer Edition and I think it is perhaps the best Beyer edition you can find.

It also has a CD-Rom feature where you can access the actual score and follow along as it is played by Harnoncourt - a very cool feature if I may say so.
post #11 of 28
VERY nice write-up, Luis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
LFF,

How is the Narnoncourt (sacd) one different to the Hogwood? Thinking of picking it up. Yourmusic.com has it for 5.99.
I have the Harnoncourt, and can confirm that it is outstanding. It's becoming the favorite of my Requiems. I don't own an SACD player, though, so have only heard the Redbook layer.
post #12 of 28
Ok, i think i may very well get it. Thanks guys!
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBJackson
VERY nice write-up, Luis!
Thanks for the compliment Bill. I hope you enjoyed the other ones as well. There will definately be more coming.
post #14 of 28
I have only the Wiener Phil. , Karl Bohm version ; a very powerful rapresentation of the whole opera , but for me not really "special" in a sense ; I'll look into another one soon ( Christopher Hogwood ? or N. Harnoncourt maybe )
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boodi
I have only the Wiener Phil. , Karl Bohm version ; a very powerful rapresentation of the whole opera , but for me not really "special" in a sense ; I'll look into another one soon ( Christpoher Hogwood ? or N. Harnouncourt maybe )
I own that version as well and find it to be of a neutral flavor - not bad but not good either. Definately check out the Hogwood or the Harnoncourt version. The Harnoncourt version can be found at yourmusic for only 6 bucks and it is a SACD/Hyrbid.
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