Mozart’s Requiem is considered as one of the greatest pieces in the composer’s extensive repertoire and is particularly famous for being left unfinished at his untimely death. It is an enigmatic work due to the controversy surrounding how much of the piece was actually completed by Mozart himself. His wife, Constanze, arranged for the Requiem to be finished by Franz Xaver Süssmayr in order to receive full payment from the anonymous commissioner, who turned out to be Count Franz von Walsegg, who required a Requiem following the death of his wife. He received the work, along with Mozart’s counterfeited signature, believing it to have been composed entirely by him.
The myths surrounding the piece have been contributed to by modern works such as Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1979), in which the mysterious messenger who delivers the commission is the disguised composer-rival Antonio Salieri. The ideas in this film are based on a nineteenth-century play by Alexander Pushkin entitled Mozart and Salieri, which was turned into an opera by Risky-Korsakov.
To experience the wonders of the piece recently voted as the Nation’s Favourite Mozart piece by BBC Radio 3 listeners, come to our Prom on Sunday, where we’re performing with our Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Stephen Layton’s fantastic vocal ensemble Polyphony.
For a flavour of the concert, listen to our Spotify playlist.
Emma Bell soprano
Ian Bostridge tenor
James Rutherford bass
Renarta Pokupic mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams baritone
Stephen Layton conductor
Royal Albert Hall
London, SW7 2AP