Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Requiem, K. 626
About the event
Ars longa, vita brevis – art is long and life is short. Through eternal art - the thing that the Festival Orchestra really excels in -, we would like to commemorate those whose life was cut even shorter by the coronavirus. The first concert in a long time performed by the BFO in front of a live audience, where Iván Fischer will conduct with outstanding soloists one of the most beautiful, but definitely the most enigmatic funeral masses of the history of music, Mozart’s Requiem, is offered mainly to the relatives and loved ones of those who died in the pandemic. Audiences must register for the free concert and may participate with their vaccination or immunity certificate and the email sent to them confirming their registration. With those mourners in mind who cannot make it to the concert, it will be broadcast in several countries and also on RTL Klub.
“I deeply empathize with the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Iván Fischer, also emphasizing that there are always human beings behind the numbers “who spent the last days of their life in very sad circumstances. Locked away from the world, they could not even have visitors or say goodbye to their families.” We will commemorate those people with the funeral mass, which according to the legend also reinforced by the film Amadeus, Mozart composed for his own looming death. The truth, however, is more prosaic. In the summer of 1791, an unknown messenger knocked on the composer’s door with a commission for a Requiem Mass. Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach, who remained anonymous, intended to commemorate the early death of his wife with the composition, which he wanted to pass off as his own. Mozart accepted the commission and never asked about the mysterious person who ordered the work.
Shortly after starting the composition, his health severely deteriorated, he became bedbound and soon died at the early age of 36. Vita brevis. What Mozart left behind from the Requiem was barely the two thirds of the musical material of the piece. The orchestration of the Introit was completely finished, the part from the fugue of the Kyrie to the end of the Hostias was sketched out, and only eight bars of the Lacrimosa were composed, while some movements remained completely unwritten. First Mozart’s student, Joseph Leopold von Eybler undertook to finish the piece; however, at one point, he decided that the task was beyond his competence. Eventually, another of his pupils, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, finished the Requiem based on the alleged original ideas of the composer. Later on, many others wrote their own completion of the piece.
Beside the Festival Orchestra, this performance of the Requiem will feature soloists Anna Prohaska, whose voice, according the Times, “shimmers so sweetly”, Elisabeth Kulman, who used to work with Harnoncourt, Zoltán Megyesi known to the audience from Iván Fischer’s Don Giovanni and bassist Krisztián Cser, who was awarded the Hungarian Golden Cross of Merit. They will be accompanied by a choir brought together especially for this occasion and dubbed by Iván Fischer the Ars Longa Chamber Choir.
The concert will be broadcast on RTL Klub on the day of its performance from 11:10 p.m., while our international partners, including the Philharmonie de Paris, the Lucerne Festival, the Concertgebouw Brugge and the Alte Oper Frankfurt, will stream it on their online channels.