Wolfgang Amadè Mozart (1756-1791)

Requiem Mass, K. 626: Offertorium

“I eventually came to the conclusion that the fact that Mozart lived proves the existence of a supreme being, and the older I get, the more firmly I believe that it cannot have happened by chance that Mozart came into this world, created an incredible amount of joy and beauty for humanity, and then disappeared at the age of thirty-five. There must be a higher meaning to it; there must be some force that wants to console the troubled human race” (Memoirs, 19).

On 5 December 1991, in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, Solti conducted Mozart’s work during a Requiem Mass held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the composer’s death. The Mass was officiated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna and was televised throughout Europe. “Through the two days of rehearsals, I had been troubled by the thought that Mozart had died only a short distance away and his funeral had been held in this very church. I felt that his spirit was there, somehow, and I feared that would unsettle me during the performance and I would start to cry” (190). In the end, the performance, which featured sopranos Arleen Auger and Cecilia Bartoli, tenor Vinson Cole, bass René Pape, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Chorus, went “beautifully.” Solti used the edition by H.C. Robbins Landon, which is based on Mozart’s unfinished autograph and the additions by his three pupils, Joseph Eybler, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, and F. J. Freystädtler. Shown here is the beginning of the Offertorium.

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart. Requiem, K. 626: Offertorium Perf. Vienna Philharmonic; Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor. Recorded at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, 5 December 1991 (London 433 688-2). Record Collection CD 8823

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