WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Mozart: Requiem, Maurerische Trauermusick / Savall

Mozart / Capella Reial De Catalunya / Savall
Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Alia Vox   Catalog #: 9880   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Stephan SchreckenbergerMontserrat FiguerasClaudia SchubertGerd Türk
Conductor:  Jordi Savall
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Capella Reial de CatalunyaLe Concert des Nations
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
On sale! $18.98
SuperAudio CD:  $16.99
Low Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Acclaimed for revealing rarely heard ancient music, Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations have also drawn praise for their performances of familiar masterpieces. The exquisite voice of Montserrat Figueras highlights this album in Mozart's Requiem and Trauermusik.


Mozart’s Requiem, notwithstanding the fragmentary form in which it has come down to us (and despite the fact that it was completed alter his death by Franz Xaver Süssmayr with some additions by Joseph Eybler) wholly bears the stamp of its creator’s genius. His conception is perceptible through the general structure of the work, and that irrespective, even, of the difference in character or quality of the parts that were completed later. Read more />
It is highly unlikely that a second-rate composer such as Süssmayr, who had never written anything worthy of note, would have been capable of finishing the Lacrimosa and composing the Sanctus, the Benedictus and the Agnus Dei entirely on his own. However, we shall never know what access Süssmayr had to the rough drafts, or whether he heard Mozart himself playthem – which would have enabled him to memorise them to a large extent.

It is necessary today to reconsider the instrumentation, taking the contributions of Joseph Eybler and Süssmayr as a starting-point, and trying to find a synthesis between these versions and what we have to the original autograph, in order to bring out the spirit of Mozart as perfectly as possible.

In our performance we have recreated as far as is feasible the conditions prevalent al the time. The soloists and the choir (reduced to twenty members) sing in Latin with the transparency and intensity that is needed for the pronunciation that was current in Vienna at the end of the 18th century. The work is played on period instruments at a pitch of 430 Hz; the orchestra consists of eighteen string instruments, nine wind instruments, organ and timpani. The trombones have the narrow mouthpiece that was in use at the time, and we also use real basset horns with five keys plus a lower register – after Theodor Lotz, who worked with Stadler, Mozart’s clarinettist, and made his instruments.

However, all this is of little importance compared to the actual interpretation: from beginning to end, it should make us feel all the warmth and fervour of the Catholic faith and trust in God’s mercy. The Requiem is a moving funeral lament and also a miraculous moment of grace, with that surprising balance between the declamatory, rhythmical force of the text and, its melodic setting, between the almost infinite flight of the polyphonic lines and its attachment to an inexorable harmonic force, between details in phrasing and contrasts in dynamics. It appears above all through that perception of movement, which makes the tempo the true heart of the music: whispering or throbbing, passion or prayer – by the juxtaposition of all these forces in one great upsurge of feeling, we attain one of the greatest messages that the human creative genius has ever produced on the mystery of death. Death viewed as a subject for profound meditation on the meaning of life was already familiar to Mozart at a young age. This is shown in one of the letters he wrote to His ailing father in 1787 (he was then thirty-one): “... As death, if we look at it closely, is the real aim of our lives, I have become so well acquainted in recent years with this true, perfect friend to man that not only is there no longer anything awesome about it for me, but I find the idea very soothing and comforting! and I thank my God for having granted me the good fortune to find the opportunity [...] of getting to know it as the key to our true happiness. I never go to bed without thinking that, tomorrow perhaps, young as I may be, I will no longer be here.”

According to various contemporary accounts, Mozart, who normally kept his art and his personal life quite separate, was very deeply fond of certain works: we know that the quartet in the last act of Idomeneo moved him to tears; we also know that, during a rehearsal of the Requiem shortly before his death, he burst into tears on hearing the Lacrimosa.

All these things perhaps explain the extraordinary expressive force of this masterpiece: a wonderfully expounded spiritual testament to man’s profound distress faced with the mystery of death. Through this Christian liturgical text Mozart managed to express, as only he could do, all the various states of mind, from fear of the Judgement (Dies irae) to trust in God’s mercy (Kyrie), from the anxiety of useless suffering (Recordare) to confidence in another world, full of light (Luceat eis). It is a funeral lament, but more than that, it is a final prayer, imploring God’s mercy (“Be beside me at the moment of death”) which leaves us hope for a new life. Rarely has a piece of music been so strongly marked by the genius, the expression, the faith and the suffering of a human being.

Translation: Mary Pardoe
Read less

Works on This Recording

Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Stephan Schreckenberger (Bass), Montserrat Figueras (Soprano), Claudia Schubert (Alto),
Gerd Türk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Jordi Savall
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Capella Reial de Catalunya,  Le Concert des Nations
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1991 
Venue:  Saint-Lambert-des-Bois, Yvelines 
Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K 477 (479a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Jordi Savall
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert des Nations
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1991 
Venue:  Saint-Lambert-des-Bois, Yvelines 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title