Saturday, 30th June 2018 at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone.
Big sing - Mozart`s Requiem. (KV 626)
Featuring soloists Lesley-Jane Rogers, David Wilson-Johnson, Justin Lavender and Louise Crane.
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died 200 years ago he left behind him an unfinished composition. It was a mass for the dead. The story behind the composition of this masterpiece began in July 1791 when Mozart was hard at work on the Magic Flute. A mysterious messenger appeared and handed him a note in which a person, who wishes to remain anonymous, asks if Mozart would accept a commission. Encouraged by his wife Constanze, Mozart accepted. The advance payment of 50 ducats was extremely welcome and he promised to deliver the score in 4 weeks. The messenger left only one condition - that Mozart should under no circumstances try to find out either the name or the whereabouts of the person who had commissioned the requiem. In fact the mysterious messenger was a servant of Count Walsegg a rich aristocrat with an estate south of Vienna. Count Walsegg was a cultivated man, a lover of the arts, an amateur musician and an actor. He possessed however a rather odd side to his character, he persuaded well known composers to write things for him that he would copy and then pass on as his own compositions. Earlier in the year the Count`s beloved wife had died aged only 21 and it is in her memory that he asked Vienna`s most popular composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to write a requiem. Mozart instantly set to work but he was interrupted a few days later by an even more pressing task, the composition of an opera for the coronation in Prague of Emperor Leopold II who was also King of Bohemia. Work was put aside on the requiem and Mozart composed La Ciemenza di Tito. He travelled with his family to Prague to conduct the premier himself, shortly before he left Vienna the messenger appeared to enquire about the progress of the mass. Mozart promised to resume work on the requiem immediately after his return to Vienna but he was delayed again by the premier of the Magic Flute in September and by the need to complete several occasional works - dance music for instance all of which diverted him from the requiem commission. Mozart`s health gave increasing need for worry, he was under enormous stress and working on the requiem made him melancholy for he had come to believe he was writing his own requiem. One afternoon Mozart actually voiced this fear, Constanze hid the score for a couple of days until his mind was at ease again. On November 20th 1791 Mozart was siezed by a rheumatic fever, he was confined to bed and had severe attacks of pain caused by internal inflammations. Despite the illness he worked with desperation on his Requiem. He acquainted his students with the structure of the work and he made notes about the instrumentation he planned to use. One day friends came to sing through the music, Mozart himself taking the alto line. The legend is that Mozart broke into tears when the singers reached the Lacrimosa movement, the last pages of the manuscript that were in his handwriting. On November 28th Mozart`s condition had deteriorated so considerably that his physician called in another doctor for advice. Blood lettings were prescribed but they only contributed to the wasting away of Mozart`s frail body. On the night of December 5th shortly after midnight at the age of 35 Mozart died, Following the custom of the day Mozart`s widow did not take part in the burial ceremony. Mozart had died leaving many debts and it was essential for Constanze not to renounce the requiem commission. Mozart had left sketches of all the movements and Constanze decided to have the work completed in her husband`s spirit by a fellow composer, thus giving the impression that Mozart had completed the work himself. It was a daunting task, two composers began and gave up. Finally Franz Xaver Sussmayr the most intimate friend of the family in Mozart`s last year produced a completed version adding all the remaining parts. Susmayer handwriting was very similar to Mozart`s so by the spring of 1792 Constanze was able to present the messenger a full score of the Requiem. It was at St. Stephen`s cathedral in Vienna that Mozart`s funeral rites took place on 6th December. Contrary to popular belief Mozart was not buried in a pauper`s grave but according to the funeral arrangements of the period the body was transported in a cart to the cemetery of St. Marks which was several miles outside the old city walls. It was dark and no one attended the procession and there was no final ceremony, the corpse was simply covered with lime and buried in a communal grave. Within a few years the precise location of that grave had been forgotten, the grave digger
Join us for an excellent opportunity to sing at the Leas Cliff Hall on 30th June 2018 in company with Folkestone Choral Society, professional soloists and musicians. Be part of 100 + singers to perform Mozart`s Requiem, an outstanding major work. Listen to the audio movement to get a taste.
Sign up details below.
Sign up details below.