Monday, 7 December 2015


Unfinished Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Joseph Lange, c. 1782
Contemporaries in Mozart's inner circle claim this portrait to
be the closest likeness of the late Composer.
Ah, the ever elusive Requiem. 

It is strongly suggested that Mozart only wrote, at least in his own hand, the first 8 bars of the Lacrimosa. Many scholars of this period note slight variations after this point, and it is believed that Mozart contemporary and fellow composer and pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed it. 

(Conductor Christoph Spering's "original", alleged "unfinished" version of the Requiem, without the Süssmayer additions, can be heard on youtube here.

In a biography sold shortly after his very tender-aged demise by his wife, Constanze Mozart goes as far as to state that the 8 bars of the Lacrimosa were the “last acts” of the dying Virtuoso.* This, however, is to be taken with some circumspection - the Widow Mozart was left largely in debt following the passing of her husband, and needed some means to support her new found status as such. It has been suggested that in order to enjoy fiscal freedom, both the authorship of the Requiem and it’s incomplete status was kept a closely guarded secret, as revealing any hint of inauthenticity or incompletion would drastically effect her from receiving both the commission for the work (believed to be from one Count Walsegg) and from receiving the top dollar from the public and various publishers who believed they were experiencing the rare occasion of immersing themselves in the ethereal sound of a man who was said to occupy a “direct ear to God”. It is also of interest to note that the Widow Mozart did, indeed go on to secure for herself substantial wealth following Mozart’s death, largely attributed to the careful selection and presentation of concerts and published works of her late husband, even earning herself a pension from the Emperor.  

*Contrast this statement with that of her sister, Sofie, who also was at the dying composers’ bedside: “...The last thing he did was to try and mouth the drum passages in the Requiem. I can still hear that.”


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