Left unfinished after his death, Mozart’s magnificent final masterpiece Requiem is “full of power and drama,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In the opening performance for the 2019 Oregon Bach Festival on Friday, June 28, celebrated British conductor Jane Glover leads the OBF Orchestra and Chorus through this profoundly moving meditation.
The brilliant and sublime Requiem is paired with Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A Major. In addition to the OBF Orchestra and Chorus, soloists include soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, tenor Colin Ainsworth and bass-baritone Kenneth Overton
In addition to opera, Jane Glover is known as a Mozart specialist and has conducted all the Mozart operas all over the world regularly since she first performed them at Glyndebourne in the 1980s. The Chicago Classical Review called her “one of the finest Mozartians of our day”. This makes her the perfect conductor for this OBF opening concert. Read more about Jane Glover in a recent interview.
Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on December 5 the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach.
The composition is shrouded in mystery. It is said that Mozart was not in the best state of mind when he received an anonymous commission to compose a Requiem Mass. His health was deteriorating and he believed he had been cursed to write a requiem for himself.
Since the payment had already been received, Mozart’s widow Constanze feared that if the work was handed over incomplete, the patron would want his money back. She eventually passed the task over to Mozart’s pupil Süssmayer, to whom the composer had given detailed instructions about finishing it. He copied the entire completed score in his own hand and gave it to the stranger.
However, this “mysterious stranger” isn’t much of a mystery. It was Anton Leitgeb, son of the mayor of Vienna and the valet of Walsegg-Stuppach. The Count was hoping to use Mozart’s Requiem to commemorate his late wife, Anna, and already had acquired the reputation of palming other people’s music off as his own. It took a full decade before Constanze was able to persuade Walsegg-Stuppach to acknowledge Mozart as the Requiem’s true composer.
With the work as Mozart’s last testament, it also is considered one of the greatest expressions of faith ever cast as a work of art.
Get tickets and read more details on Oregon Bach Festival’s website.