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"Our riches, being in our brains, die with us...unless of course someone chops off our head, in which case, we won't need them anyway."-W. A. Mozart

Mozart as Goth music. Check this one out.

Lacrymosa, performed by Evanescence

The title is Lacrymosa, which is the same title as Mozart's movement from his Requiem.  In fact, the Lacrimosa is the most unfinished movement of Mozart's Requiem. SO unfinished -- just eight bars -- that the issue of how to complete it is still open.  And so, you might argue, although it's a bit of a stretch, that Evanescence may have just as much right to make their version and call it Mozart as anybody else!

More, below the fold, on Mozart and the Lacrimosa and the Requiem and the uses and abuses it has been subjected to, as well as the film Amadeus, the mythology surrounding Mozart's death and the Requiem's composition.  This should be a fun diary.

The Evanescence clip above is just the tip of a Mozarty iceberg.  I'm starting to regret filling up my bookmarks with so many Youtube clips of amateur performances of Mozart's Requiem, often on the electric guitar.  Most often, it's the Lacrimosa.

For instance:

And another...

... AND another.  This poor guy couldn't spell MORZART right.

Believe me... there are a lot more.  More ambitious are the ones that try to do the Dies Irae, which is far more suitable for shredding on the guitar.   For instance:

You have to give these guys some credit.  It's not like the sheet music is written out for electric guitar.  It takes some work to rearrange it that way.  Here's another Dies Irae.

Google's autocomplete feature is rather enlightning at times.  For instance, when I type in the word Mozart -- just Mozart -- the first completion it wants to suggest is Mozart's Requiem.  So what's that about?  Why not some more popular work or aspect of Mozart's work?  The Requiem?  

The answer has to be the Oscar-winning film (and play) Amadeus.  Amadeus was based on the mixture of myths surrounding the death of Mozart and the composition of the Requiem, his last work, parts of it allegedly dictated while he lay dying, at the ripe old age of 35, from what probably started as a trivial bacterial infection.  

Here's how Amadeus portrayed Mozart dictating his music, from his bed, to Salieri.  Just think how remarkable it is that they got away with this, analyzing a movement from the Mozart requiem, breaking down its themes, even talking about the chord changes, and making it exciting and interesting.  And doing it for seven whole minutes.

Mozart dictates the Confutatis movement to Salieri

Here's is the complete Confutatis, the Sussmayer version.  

Notice how it has three distinct parts.  It's very different.  It begins with the angry frustrated section.  I usually ignore the words to these things, but they suit the music well.  "When the accused are confounded and doomed to the flames of woe..."  And the music is suitably harsh and accusing.  And then...  The voices of angels -- sopranos alone, to be more precise, entering on the words, "Voca me," "Come to me,"  the music filled with compassion after the hammering turmoil of previous part.  After a repetition of these two sections, the first and second, a totally new section of material begins, at 1:39, possibly the eeriest music Mozart ever composed, on the words "Bowed down in supplication, I beg you."  

The mythology that evolved around Mozart's death became huge, in part because so many members of the Mozart family embellished it with romantic details.  Telling truth from fiction is impossible, and I'm not the kind of person to belabor it to find THE truth, because I think, sometimes, myths are just more relevant, and THE truth, in this case, is unavailable to us, anyway.  Nobody knows where his body is.  He died a pauper, and got a pauper's funeral, which means, in the manner of the times, his body was dumped unceremoniously into a pit with a bunch of other poor wretches, no coffin, as shown at the end of Amadeus.  Stories that I can recall, off the top of my head, have it that he died from:

1. Strep Throat
2. Rheumatic Fever
3. Kidney Failure
4. Vitamin D deficiency
5. Antimony (home remedy) poisoning
6. Repeated bloodletting.
7. Killed by a the husband of a woman he was cheating with.
8. Poisoned by enemies (Mozart' alleged this, according to family members.)

That's just for starters.  According to a recent NY Times article, there are 118 known medical theories as to what caused his death.

One apocryphal story:

"On the very eve of his death, [Mozart] had the score of the Requiem brought to his bed, and himself (it was two o'clock in the afternoon) sang the alto part; Schack, the family friend, sang the soprano line, as he had always previously done, Hofer, Mozart's brother-in-law, took the tenor, Gerle, later a bass singer at the Mannheim Theater, the bass. They were at the first bars of the Lacrimosa when Mozart began to weep bitterly, laid the score on one side, and eleven hours later, at one o'clock in the morning (of 5 December 1791, as is well known), departed this life."

Is this bullshit?  Consider that Mozart never finished the Lacrimosa.  In fact, he left it hanging in midair on the 8th bar!  Either the story is bullshit... or Mozart had more music that never made it to paper.

Here's the Lacrimosa as Mozart wrote it down, all eight bars, with no meddling by later composers to complete it.  If it sounds like the tape cuts off, well, that's the end of Mozart's music.  Also, notice the lack of orchestration.

Not complete.  Not even close.  Just eight bars.  (And all eight of them included in Evanescence's clip by the way.)
But -- and here I go with my puppydog enthusiasm -- what eight bars!  Listen to the first two bars, the first sixteen notes.  Despondent.  It's like a dog whimpering.  Down-up.  Up-down.  Down-up.  Up-down.   So minimal.  Later completions didn't add to that at all.  


The full written score of the unfinished Lacrimosa in Mozart's hand.

A few days after Mozart's death, there was a small benefit concert of the parts of the Requiem that were complete to raise money for Constanze.  It took another four months, though, before the first completed version was ready, the one that was turned over to the mysterious, anonymous patron that had requested it in the first place, the source of the myth used in Amadeus of the masked patron (the jealous Salieri) spooking the bejeezus out of Mozart.

About that patron, from Niemetschek's biography of 1808:

Shortly before the Coronation of the Emperor Leopold, and before Mozart received the commission to go to Prague, an unsigned letter was handed to him by an unknown messenger which, with many flattering remarks, contained the question whether Mozart would like to undertake the composition of a Requiem, for what price, and how soon he would be able to deliver it.  [....]

He therefore wrote to the unknown gentleman to say that he would write the Requiem for a certain sum; he could not exactly state the time he would require to complete it; but he would like to know the destination to which he was to deliver the work when it was finished. The same messenger shortly reappeared, bringing not only the agreed honorarium with him, but also the promise that, as he had been so reasonable in his price, he would receive a generous additional payment on handing over the work. He was moreover to write according to the mood and frame of his mind, but he was not to trouble to try and find out the name of his patron, for this search would certainly be in vain....

It wasn't Salieri.  It was Count Walsegg.  And what Walsegg really wanted it for is a whole other area of speculation.  One theory is that he wanted to claim it as his own.  Whatever the reason, to be paid, Constanze Mozart had to hustle to complete the Requiem.  She turned the job of completing it over to a fellow composer and family friend, Franz Xavier Sussmayer, who had tried to assist Mozart in his final days.  

Sussmayer turns out to be an important name in this tale, because the version of the Requiem that people are most familiar with is the Sussmayer Completion, the same one that was turned over to Count Walsegg to receive the commission.  Later, when Constanze tried to get the Requiem published, the Count threatened to sue her, claiming that it was his property, she had to make a settlement with him.  Otherwise, we might today not have any version of the Requiem!

But was Sussmayer qualified to do an adequate job?  Mozart apparently didn't esteem Sussmayer very highly as a musician.  "He's like a duck in a thunderstorm."  From a letter written by Constanze:

. . . Mozart never thought of beginning a Requiem, and often said to me that he undertook this work with the greatest pleasure, since that [i.e., church music] was his favorite genre, and he was going to do it and compose it with such fervor that his friends and enemies would study it after his death; “if I can only stay alive that long; for this must be my masterpiece and my swan-song.” And he did compose it with great fervor; when he felt weak, however, Süssmayr often had to sing . . . and thus Süssmayr received a real lesson from Mozart. And I can hear Mozart, when he often said to Süssmayr: “Ey — there you stand like a duck in a thunderstorm; you won’t understand that for a long time,” took the quill and wrote down the principal parts which, I suppose, were too much for Süssmayr (Quoted in Robbins Landon, 1791: Mozart’s Last Year, pgs.161-62).

So, to poor Sussmayer fell the burden of completing one of the great musical masterpieces.

Here is the Sussmayer version of the Lacrimosa, the same music used at the very end of Amadeus as they dump Mozart's body.  It's an interesting clip, because they use illustrations to trace out the chords.

Sussmayer's own completion material begins at 0:49.  Before that, it's pretty much faithful to Mozart's eight bar score, but with more orchestration.  At 0:59, he throws in a bII chord (flat second) which really brings the music to life.  How much of this is Sussmayer, and how much of this is Sussmayer channeling Mozart through unwritten instructions?  Whatever the case, it's still very damn good and it sounds very Mozarty.

Even though it may be the most well known, still, it was never the final word.  Other completions of the Requiem began soon after.  Within ten years, other completions began to come out.  Over the past two hundred years, there have been many, some more heavy-handed, some more conservative.  Why?  Well, as good as the Sussmayer completed Lacrimosa is, scholars think a lot of the work in the Requiem, as a whole, is barely adequate work by a man who was struggling to do the the best he could with genius material.

From Classical Notes:

Those versed in the Mozart style generally agree that Süssmayr's work is deeply flawed with technical errors, needless instrumental doubling of voices and a general lack of inspiration (although few non-scholarly ears notice the faults and, as many concede, what contemporary wouldn't be found lacking when compared to the genius of Mozart?). Yet, the question remains of what, if anything, to do about it. There's little consensus among editors of modern editions and recordings.

As noted in more detail below, the most radical eliminate the Süssmayr material altogether, either leaving a torso with new orchestrations of Mozart's vocals and bass, or substituting realizations of their own. More moderate editors adhere to Süssmayr's basic plan but attempt to correct his "grammatical" mistakes and lighten the instrumentation...

Other parts, like the Sanctus movement, are suspected to be almost completely Sussmayer because of the un-Mozartiness.  It's hard to tell, at times, because Constanze tried to downplay Sussmayer's musical influence on the completed work in order to promote the published Requiem.  

But... back to the Lacrimosa.  Sussmayer did the best he could to complete it and did a great job, however he did it, considering Mozart only wrote eight bars of it.

Except... they found more Mozart Requiem.

In 1960, another fragment of sixteen bars in Mozart's hand, a choral fugue, was discovered which was believed to be part of a mass.  There was scholarly dispute over it for years.  But the weight seems to have come down on the side of it being part of the Requiem, and probably destined to come at the end of the Lacrimosa.  In Sussmayer's version, the Lacrimosa ends with a nice, round "Amen" cadence, made of two simple chords.  (2:46 in the above music clip of the Lacrimosa.)  Thus, this musical fragment became the "Amen Fugue."  The first modern completion using the Amen Fugue was by Robert Levin.   (I'm not sure about the year, but I think this was from around 1973).

Thematic Linkage in the Requiem.

Before we get to the Levin completion, let me point out some very cool and very technical things about the Requiem as a whole.  It's going to be important to understanding why the Amen Fugue belongs in the Requiem.  

The Mozart Requiem is a thematic head trip.  "Thematic linkage" is something we are more familiar with from Beethoven, who came later -- the idea being that the same themes from one movement show up again in another, later movement.  Like, Da-da-da-DAH showing up in all four movements of Beethoven's Fifth.  Mozart has thematic linkage throughout the Requiem, but it's not obvious, not meant to make a statement, the way Beethoven used it.  Rather, the same themes are recycled, often altered in ways that are difficult to recognize at first.  And you can imagine that a first time listener would never notice these things.  But Mozart was a man who often composed at two levels: to entertain his audience, and to impress other musicians, so the beauty in the details.  I'll give you two examples.

The most obvious one is the beginning of the Dies Irae, and the beginning of the very next movement, the Tuba Mirum.  Just listen to the first fifteen seconds of each one, (we've got a lot of ground to cover, still), and you'll realize that the Tuba Mirum theme starts out the same as the Dies Irae theme, but it is in a major key, rather than minor.  

Dies Irae

Tuba Mirum:

The most requoted themes are from the Introitus (Introduction), the first movement of the Requiem.  Let's compare that to the Recordare movement.  Listen to the theme in the woodwinds at the beginning of the Introitus (they are woven together very tightly, yes), and then the main theme at the beginning of the Recordare.  It's much more subtle than the simple four-note theme sharing of the Dies Irae and Tuba Mirum.  

Introitus

Recordare movement:

The Introitus themes are used again, elsewhere, such as in the Agnus Dei, speeded up, in the bass.  

All very esoteric and geeky, you might say.  But this is important in establishing the credentials of the Amen Fugue.  Why?  Because the Amen Fugue main theme is the Introitus woodwind theme turned upside down, what's called a "strict inversion," where high notes are made low, and low notes are made high, as if you cut them out and flipped it over.  That's VERY subtle.  BUT... it provides very hard evidence that we are dealing with part of the Requiem.  Add to that that it was written down in Mozart's hand on a manuscript sheet that also included other known parts of the Requiem, and that the manuscript can be dated (somehow) to the time period of the Requiem, and you have a more solid case.

Now, on to the more modern completions!

Mozart's Requiem, Lacrimosa with Amen Fugue, completion by Robert Levin.  (Warning: volume levels are set too low.)

It sounds very similar to the Sussmayer version up until about 3:00.  It even has that beautiful bII chord that Sussmayer added.  Perhaps Levin thought Sussmayer probably was channeling Mozart and decided to be conservative with respect to that.  But you can still hear some striking differences in the orchestration, all the more jarring if you've heard the Sussmayer Requiem a million times over the years and have just that one version stuck in your head.  And then... the fugue begins, and that's all terra incognito for me.

But wait!  There's more!  Levin was just the first to insert the new fugue at the end of the Lacrimosa.  Next came Maunder.

Mozart's Requiem, Lacrimosa with Amen Fugue, completion by Richard Maunder.

Now this is DRASTICALLY different from the Sussmayer version.  That beautiful bII chord, for instance, is gone.  And after the first eight Mozart bars, (about 0:52) the music sounds like it's quoting the Introitus main theme (in the woodwinds).  And again, another quote from the Introitus about 1:55.  At 2:20, the Amen Fugue begins.  This, too, is drastically different from Levin's completion of the fugue.  I think I like Maunder's version more than Levin's.  Overall, comparing these two completions.

Mozart's Requiem, Lacrimosa, completion by Duncan Druce.

Druce's version is more radical still than Maunder's version.  

Classical Notes:

Motivating this, the most radical of all revisions, is Druce's conviction that Süssmayr's work ranges from competent to gauche, "but never with the appositeness, grace and imagination we expect throughout Mozart's compositions." But rather than reject it outright, Druce takes Süssmayr's starting material and reconceives it, as he feels "a competent eighteenth-century composer sympathetic to [Mozart's] style and reasonably knowledgeable as to his methods" might have done.

To me, this is very beautiful, but I have questions in my own mind, listening to it, if this is really Mozarty.  I believe this ends with the Amen Fugue, as well, but the clip cuts off before that.

And, finally...  Here's a totally different Requiem.  The Requiem in C minor by Antonio Salieri.  Yes!  Salieri composed a pretty good requiem, too.  He wasn't Mozart, but he's taken quite a bit of abuse from the film industry, more than he deserved.  So if you're sick now of listening to Mozart, give Salieri a break.  This is good stuff.

Requiem in C Minor by Antonio Salieri

FINALLY...  That's the end of my '"Survey of Mozart" for the year.  No matter what you tell me, I don't really know if I've opened up anything new to anybody.  And even if it has not, it has been good for me to do this for me.  Next week we will probably do something non-classical-period, and then I'm going to reboot the series with a diary on Sonata-allegro form (I'm leaning towards Mendelssohn for that -- tell me your preferences), and then it will be wall to wall Beethoven for the rest of the year as we try to cover as much of the Beethoven symphonies as we can.

And it would please me very much if some of you could keep your eye out for ProudtobeLiberal's Monday companion series, Monday Musical Meditations.  This last Monday was a fantastic diary on Prokofiev's Cantata.  And I was very disappointed to see that when I finally checked in to it, late at 6am the next morning, it only had a tip jar comment.  If you want people to slave like this for you, you should reward them with some kind of comment, even if it's just a "You suck."  (And you do suck, PTL, just sayin'.)  I would like the same thing for my diaries as well, but I've been fortunate enough to get more promotion than he has.  So, as a favor to me, if you like this series, check out PTL's series and leave him a comment.  Even if it's a nasty insult.

Originally posted to Dumbo on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 07:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA, An Ear for Music, The Royal Manticoran Rangers, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

What is your favorite Requiem completion now?

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| 51 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh, beautiful music, Dumbo (12+ / 0-)

    I've been sitting here for half an hour clicking through and listening to all the versions of these magnificent fragments, feeling very lachrymose myself that Mozart didn't live to complete it.  I always feel that way about his Requiem, which makes it ironically more affecting.

    Not sure I like the Amen fugue, though it's the first time I've heard it.  It sounds like an inferior imitation of Bach to me.  Mozart, as much as I love him, cannot trespass on the territory of the master of that style.  His evolutions of polyphonic writing, as in the quartets and some of the opera arias, I absolutely adore -- because they are evolutions.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 07:47:08 PM PDT

  •  The most perfect 8 bars in music (13+ / 0-)

    but I really don't like Sussmayer's Amen cadence.  It sounds so banal compared to the what precedes it.

    Also outstanding: the virtuoso double-fugue of the Kyrie.  Mozart didn't really gravitate toward fugues until he "re"discovered Bach late in life, and they weren't always his strongest form (I'll go so far as to say that his C-major fugue K.394 is outright not good).   He could incorporate fugal passages beautifully, like in the Magic Flute overture (my favorite of his works) or the 41st symphony... But the Kyrie is really something else.  Breathtaking, the way he trades both subjects through all four voices, and so effortlessly!

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 07:51:03 PM PDT

    •  I tend to give Mozart credit for working (11+ / 0-)

      in a different medium than Bach.  The themes of Bach's baroque era, and Bach in particular, were rhythmically simple.  You could lay them atop each other and even if it sounded bad, all those little sixteenth notes were going to line up very neatly.   Now, compare that to the themes of the Jupiter finale... And you've got a number of new problems to solve.  

      I made a little clip of just the themes of the Jupiter, here. Listen to them.  Especially the one marked in yellow.  I'd argue that it's a new kind of fugue that he was creating, inspired by Bach.

      Another good question to ask is, did anybody ever surpass him at fugures?  And my first thought is, Beethoven's Grosse Fuge.  That is a nasty, complicated beastie that violated all the laws of nature, just about.  So Mozart and his fugues exist in an epoch of their own.

      •  Sure. That's why I argued that the 41st (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, SherwoodB, slksfca, x, aufklaerer

        incorporates fugal passages rather than 'fugues' per se.  I think Mozart was generally better at that sort of thing than Bach-ian fugues, and when he tried to write them (as in K.394) the results were unimpressive.  Mozart's style of melody-writing just didn't lend itself well to type of architecture that Bach used - J.S. Bach, that is, because Mozart's definitely a student of the younger Bach composers.

        I like a few scattered fugues of the modern era.  Ravel's is probably my favorite, although it's a minor work.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:26:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The choir I'm in is doing the Sussmayer version. (8+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:00:48 PM PDT

    •  I've sung the Requiem a few times now (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, aufklaerer, ruleoflaw, memiller

      One of those concerts was one of the few times I've ever been so overcome during a performance that I wasn't actually able to sing!

      Granted, it "helped" that I knew the concert was going to be my last performance with a really amazing choir (I was moving in a few weeks, and wouldn't be able to continue). And it wasn't during the Requiem per se, but in the Ave Verum Corpus that we performed as an encore. Nonetheless, the emotions swirling in my head, plus the amazingly haunting music of both the Requiem and the Ave, made it impossible for me to sing those last few bars!

      I was lucky to have a chance to correct that fault a few years later (coincidentally, in my first concert in a new city!).

      •  Never had quite that experience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo

        in 12 years singing with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, but then I've never had a concert be my last with this group -- yet.

        We are doing the St. John Passion this coming spring. This has been on my life list of things to do before I die, so I'll see what my reaction is to the Ruht Wohl in the performance.

        We sang the Sussmayer version when we did this, and I'm not sure what to make of the fugue. I really don't think it adds to what comes before -- seems to be an unrelated idea, unconnected. If it IS what Mozart intended... well, it won't be the first time I've not seen the point of a composer's intentions.

        Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

        by memiller on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 10:16:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I will have to come back to this diary (11+ / 0-)

    at a later date. Due to the psychos on display at the Repub debate, I have drank FAR too much and I always look forward to these diaries.

    One point: I know the movie (Amadeus) was not very historically accurate, but it definitely led to a greater appreciation of his music.

    As (sort of ) a musician, the scenes where Mozart is dictating the Requiem to Salieri made my pulse run at about double its usual pace.

    When Salieri dropped the manuscripts (moved beyond belief) and Stanzi asked: "Is it Good?" and he could only reply "It is miraculous!" blew me away--great acting. I think F. Murray Abraham won the Oscar for those scenes.

    Great stuff!

    I'm not paranoid, I'm just well informed--SherwoodB

    by SherwoodB on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:08:18 PM PDT

    •  I can't bear to watch that stuff anymore. (7+ / 0-)

      And I had to tune out the news all day yesterday because I couldn't hear them talk about that guy they executed.  As soon as I heard there was a stay, I knew how that story would end.  I suppose the new Republican policy will be take it to the next level and execute random people pulled off the streets just on general purposes.

    •  Also... in Amadeus... (10+ / 0-)

      that scene, near the beginning, where he tries to explain to the young priest what was so remarkable about Mozart's early woodwind serenade.  That was GOOD writing.  And the author, Peter Shaffer, obviously knew Mozart and his music very well in order to be able to do that.  That one scene probably did more to explain Mozart to me than anything else in that movie.

      •  Me, too! I heard it, and I GOT it! n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, x

        I'm not paranoid, I'm just well informed--SherwoodB

        by SherwoodB on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:15:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "like a rusty squeezebox" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SherwoodB, Dumbo

        I'm no music expert but I know good scriptwriting when I hear it. It never hurts a piece of text to run it through the mind and mouth of a master of the craft.
        F. Murray Abraham is just such a master.

        The process is the same for all the performing arts;
        Text + interpretation + audience.  
        When it is done with skill and genuine emotion it reveals truth.  It worked for Thespis, it worked for Mozart and it worked for Peter Shaffer.

        It also worked in your diary, Dumbo.
        You suck.
        :0]

        If you can play the cowbell, thank a sheet metal worker.

        by ruleoflaw on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 08:31:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  remarkable (8+ / 0-)

    both the music and the exposition

    Thanks!

  •  Didn't you do one on Russian Chant music? (9+ / 0-)

    My choir is also doing the Rachmaninoff Vespers.  Some of the most gorgeous music I've ever heard.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 08:18:47 PM PDT

    •  No. I know hardly anything about Russian choral (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherwoodB, x, aufklaerer

      music... But I did repost a few times an embed of Tchaikovsky's Hymn to the Cherubim.  Wonderwhy posted it one time and it blew me away, so I keep reposting it.

      Russian Orthodox choral music interests me.  It definitely has a different flavor to it than the Catholic stuff, doesn't it?  The only thing is, a steady diet of it would be kind of boring.  It's most interesting when you haven't heard it for a while.

  •  cried n cried at the end of amadeus so thanks... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, x, aufklaerer

    for your diaries. just know the typical mozart tunes and like how they SOUND. so sad how he was just dumped by the very people for whom he slaved away writing his great music.  They knew he was hot, and I can imagine how they tried their utmost to keep him in his "place".

    Msongs

  •  My church choir (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, x

    used to sing a requiem mass every All Souls Day (Nov 2nd)... Pietro Yon, Lorenzo Perosi or gregorian chant, but never the Mozart.  We finally stopped singing the mass a couple of years ago when the pastor realized that everyone was going to a neighboring parish because they were performing the Mozart.

    •  Ah.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x

      I suppose you could try to one-up them by getting the Maunder version (the one I voted for).  

      Although... I suppose it's recently copyrighted so you would have to pay more for the sheet music.  I'm not sure how that works out.

      •  We used to sing the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, x

        Tantum ergo in B Flat KV 142 ending on the first beat of the Fugal Amen Coda at Christmas Midnight Mass along with the Mass in B Flat (forgot the KV #).  Then we discovered that modern thought is that the work is actually by Johann Fach not Mozart and that the fugal amen at the end was added by Mozart.  So we started singing the whole work. Two years ago we started singing the Haydn Little Organ Mass.

  •  Tuba Mirum (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, slksfca, x, GeorgeXVIII

    has always hit me in the gut in a way I can't describe. Tonight I heard for the first time how it relates to Dies Irae. Oh.

    I came for the politics and stayed for the science.

    by bwren on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 09:03:42 PM PDT

    •  You probably felt it in your gut (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwren, slksfca, Lefty Mama, x, GeorgeXVIII

      all along.  You just never had anybody point it out to you in plain words.  It comes like a huge slap in the face, after the Dies Irae.  I know that the first many times that I listened to it, I could feel SOME connection, but I hadn't become familiar enough with the music yet to actually pinpoint what he was doing to make it work so effectively.  

      I tried to cram too much into the diary, but I wanted to make this my last Mozart diary.  There is a lot more to be written about the thematic linkage in the Requiem.  Even incomplete, it's an amazing work of intricate interconnected clockwork.

  •  Thank you!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slksfca, x, Dumbo, Time Waits for no Woman

    An impressive and lovely diary!!!!!

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 09:58:50 PM PDT

  •  it's beautiful, strong, haunting (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, Dumbo, aufklaerer, Randtntx, GeorgeXVIII

    Last week I went to a performance of the requiem in a church in Seattle. There was a huge choir,a full orchestra, and the acoustics were great. It was part of the "Rolling Requiem" that was happening in different time zones around the world as part of the 10th aniversary of 9/11. They didn't give out normal programs. Instead they had sheets of paper that had the names of each person who died in the confusing events of that day. The music was a vast wall of sound generated by human beings and instruments.
    I had with me 5 tween girls, who couldn't sit still to save their lives. But they loved it, while distracting me to death. They don't remember anything before 9/11. And they usually listen to hip-hop. We alternated between being swept away by the music and whispering "Be Quiet!!" back there. It was a wonderful experience. This music really grabs you into a world of subconscious connections.

    In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

    by Lefty Mama on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 10:34:23 PM PDT

  •  Amazing diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, Dumbo, aufklaerer

    Thank you for making my evening!

  •  Bravo! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, aufklaerer

    Dumbo, you are a DKOMA blog admin. You can invite ProudtobeLiberal to our group.

    I'll send the invite, but you should feel free to invite people to this group.

    You are a Star around here.

    Thank you for another awesome Thursday nite!

    I always look for you & Zenbassoon to give us a truly bodacious post.

    Thank you so much.

  •  I clicked on the first clip & for my troubles (6+ / 0-)

    was awarded the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. Immediately I thought of this completely unrelated joke--

    It was a slow early morning at the Pearly Gates, so Jesus convinced St. Peter to close up shop & go down to earth with him to play 9 holes of golf before anyone else woke up.

    On the first hole (475 yards, Par 5) Peter teed up his ball & hit a majestic drive, 250 yards straight down the fairway. Jesus sent his tee shot hooking into the deep rough--

    Whereupon a squirrel ran out of a tree &, believing the ball to be some sort of nut, picked it up & started running back to his lair--

    Whereupon a hawk swooped down on the squirrel & carried it off in its claws, flying over the green on the 1st hole--

    Whereupon the squirrel dropped the ball, which bounced three times & rolled into the hole--

    Whereupon Peter turned to Jesus with a look of disgust & said,

    Dammit, are you gonna play golf or are you gonna fuck around?
    --& I thought, Dammit, Kos, are you gonna let me play the music or are you gonna fuck around??

    snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

    by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 11:10:57 PM PDT

  •  I wrote the program notes when (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, x, aufklaerer, ybruti, GeorgeXVIII

    my choir did the Requiem some years ago.

    Here's my commentary on the Süssmayr contributions:

    If the white-hot intensity and urgency of the earlier movements is somewhat lacking in the later sections of the work, we must keep in mind that Mozart left only vague indications for what he wanted; all of the composition directly or indirectly belongs to Süssmayr. The first of Süssmayr's movements, a rather perfunctory Sanctus, does little to convince the audience of his abilities as a composer. Following this is the Hosanna, a fugato episode whose most redeeming quality is its brevity. The Benedictus, the last movement to feature the entire quartet, is a more assured movement, with restrained vocal and orchestral writing well in keeping with the theme of the text. This movement, like the Sanctus, is rounded off with another Hosanna, a modified version incorrectly written in B flat major. [Contemporary practices would have required both Hosannas to be in the same key—in this case, D major.]

    The final movements, the Agnus Dei and the Communio, are the finest sections in the latter half of the Requiem. Perhaps Mozart was able to provide more detail about what he wanted for this movement or Süssmayr had more inspiration for this section; in any case, here we have music that sounds convincingly Mozartean, as the chorus pleas for God's mercy and light to be showered upon the departed. In addition, for the Communio, Süssmayr repeats the music of the first two movements, from the soprano solo at “Te decet hymnus” on to the end of the Kyrie fugue. This decision, which may have been sanctioned by Mozart himself, provides the work with a strong sense of unity, but also introduces an additional wrinkle. Whereas most requiems end on a quiet note of peace (Berlioz, Fauré, Duruflé) or uncertainty (Verdi, Dvorak, Harbison), Mozart's ends in supreme confidence, as if he has known salvation and eternal life has already been bestowed upon him. Given his fame and popularity today, the assured attitude of the final “quia pius es” may not be entirely amiss.

    But there's so much more about this work than just the Süssmayr debate. There's the fact that Mozart was able to achieve so much working with, relatively speaking, so little: basset horns and bassoons, trumpet and trombone, timpani, and strings with continuo. There's the use of the soloists as a true quartet, and always in the more "intimate" moments of the text. There's the yawing, leaping cavernous and spiky fugue at "Quam olim Abrahae" in the "Offertorium." There's the spark of true originality—I can't think of another work that occupies the same sound world, even in Mozart's canon.

  •  Wonderful diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, aufklaerer

    Thanks so much. I love this series of diaries and learn a tremendous amount. I often get to it late--the next morning or sometimes even the afternoon--but I always get to it!

    Thanks again.

  •  I struggle to enjoy Mozart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    there's a pat perfection to his music that grates on me.  But my music appreciation skills suck, so there is that.  ;)

    Thank you.

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

    by jlynne on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 03:07:46 AM PDT

  •  It's all about the basset horns (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aufklaerer, Dumbo, ybruti

    which is why the Druce completion is so wonderful - he understands the central role of the basset horns in the orchestration and brings them out with wonderful solos, especially in the benedictus.  Listen to the beginning of the Recordare, and you'll hear that Mozart intended to feature these amazing tenor clarinets especially, and the winds generally.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hellgate-Harmonie/209982112375428

    by triebensee on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 04:20:12 AM PDT

    •  The Druce completion was too tame for me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      I like the Maunder one, and am so used to the Sussmeyer that it works fine for me.

      "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

      by Time Waits for no Woman on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 10:50:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Maunder one made much better (0+ / 0-)

        use of the new fugue (new in the sense of "rediscovered") than Levin did.  I LIKE Druce's version, but it seemed almost too romantic near the end to let me retain the illusion it was all Mozart.

  •  Whaddaya mean? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, GeorgeXVIII
    ...the first completion it wants to suggest is Mozart's Requiem.  So what's that about?  Why not some more popular work or aspect of Mozart's work?  The Requiem?

    Thank you for a wonderful diary about my most favorite Mozart piece. Generally, I prefer Beethoven, Dvorak, Smetana, Tchaikovsky (I'm neither a musician nor a classically educated guy, just an eclectic music-listener) - but the Requiem I have always loved. I do believe it is Mozart's deepest piece (I may be influenced by the movie...)

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

    by aufklaerer on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 04:35:18 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for a great look at a great work (4+ / 0-)

    I've always loved the fact that the "Sequence" - the segments from Dies Irae through Lacrimosa - is a medieval poem, not a quotation from scripture.  As such, it is the musical equivalent of the eerie and frightening Judgement Day sculptures on the great gothic cathedrals.  
    When I was a kid in Catholic school, we would walk over to the church to sing at each parish funeral.  It was a simple Gregorian chant version of the Requiem and the words became familiar over time.  When I was in college, I was in the large chorus and Mozart's Requiem was the work we did first semester of my freshman year. It was a completely different experience - as if the characters in those gothic friezes came alive and sang (screamed, pleaded, comforted).  

    •  Now see, I didn't know that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Time Waits for no Woman

      That the Sequentia is a medieval poem.  Never would have thunk it.  I know total zilch-nada about the actual religious practices or conventions regarding this stuff, heh.

      •  Well, there ya go (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, Time Waits for no Woman

        There is a lot of secular superstition in there, and references to paganism - the Sybil, and Tartarus for example.  That blend of orthodoxy and superstition kind of comes full circle when Berlioz quotes the Gregorian Dies Irae in the Witches' Sabbath in Symphonie Fantastique.  Uh, oh.  That reminds me of Berlioz's Requiem.  Not as great as Mozart's, of course, but that Tuba Mirum can raise the dead - and his Sanctus leads them to heaven.

  •  Mozart (6+ / 0-)

    I do not know how to rec and tip a diary, so I will just write a comment. I love Mozart and really appreciate the work you put into this diary. I will bookmark it so that I can enjoy it more when I have more time. Lacrimosa is so beautiful and painful. I wish I could make a more educated comment, but suffice it to say that it was a great way to start my Friday morning.

  •  wonderful diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    just stumbled on it.  Made my morning. Keep it up. I'll look for you again. Thanks

    WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

    by ruthhmiller on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 07:53:28 AM PDT

  •  Damn, that is one fine diary to start the weekend (4+ / 0-)

    Huge kudos to Dumbo.

    Indeed, Mozart Requiem is one of my favorite classical masterpieces of all times. I have about 7 different recordings, three of them are presented here (Karajan, Schreier and Hogwood).

    It sometimes interesting to see the difference between the interpretations German and non-German conductors give to this piece.

    The Schreier version was my favorite for many years (and I still likes it... a lot) but then I bought the Hogwood recording.

    The funny thing I bought the Hogwood version not for the Requiem, but for the soprano - the divine Emma Kirkby (Not that the recently departed Margaret Price didn't kick ass as well, but still). Anything that Emma sings is worth getting.

     The fact that it was also the Maunder edition (which was the first time I've heard of it)  only added to my delight.
    So anyway, I highly recommend this version.

    The Requiem and The Great Mass in C were the discs we took with us when we went stereo shopping. From this experience we now know that an amplifier and a set of speakers that can actually handle these pieces (especially the Kirye parts ) are very hard to come by.

    "One might almost call it poetic, if poetry weren't the last refuge of the bearded, cricket hating sodomite."

    by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 08:20:06 AM PDT

    •  The Schreier version does blow me away. (2+ / 0-)

      Of all the Sussmayer recordings, I think it's the best.  For instance, in the Confutatis, he slows it way down for the B section.  To me, that Schreier version of the Confutatis is my favorite Mozart choral piece.

      And the Great Mass is very cool.  I enjoy it more than the Requiem, which, overall, is too grim for me.  I prefer my Mozart more life-positive.

      •  Indeed, the confutatis nails it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo

        The contrast in the imagery between the damned burning in flames to the solitude individual plea for mercy is perfectly mirrored by the music in this part.

        The same goes for the Rex Tremedae. The contrast is so powerful.

        And Schreier definitely knows his trade. I guess  his background as a superb tenor gives his interpretation a little bit more oomph.

        My favorite part is the first Kyrie. The back and forth between the choir and the orchestra (esp the brass) and the complexity of the fugue itself, concluding in such a magnificent climax just sends shivers down my spine every single time ( and I have stopped counting how many times I've listened to it)

        Cheers and thank you again.

        "One might almost call it poetic, if poetry weren't the last refuge of the bearded, cricket hating sodomite."

        by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 08:25:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I loved the diary as well and would add (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Time Waits for no Woman

    That I like the Salieri piece as well. . . I am in kind of a 'requiem' mood as i sit here on my desk typing this. . .and have always had a strong partiality to the minor key. . .but even more so, for me, is the reassurance that there are people out there who still appreciate classical music. The form as a whole doesn't seem to fit in with our rapidly downloadable/instant gratification culture (have you seen the sales figues for classical music recently?) and yet seems to have an eternal quality about it that is also reassuring.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 08:57:59 AM PDT

  •  Dumbo, I am at odds with these posts.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Dumbo

    Having recently ended a 50+ year career as an orchestral trombonist and having performed so much of this repertoire in a major orchestra, I am feeling a little lost with the format of these posts.
    I feel like I am back in some of my classes at the Eastman School of Music.

    Or maybe not, since we studied part writing, History of the Symphony, theory of J.S. Bach forward, analyzing all of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and other major composers through the 20th century.

    Though very interesting reading in these diaries, I am somewhat pessimistic that this is the way for casual listeners to grasp the beauty and depth of music in general.

    I appreciate your dissecting various theories regarding who actually wrote what ...but in the performing world there are accepted universal standards for performance. I seldom recall dispute when it comes time to rehearse and perform a given work.
    This is almost always the conductor's choice and when a questionable score is requested there is almost always an explanation to the orchestra..and/or audience.
    I don't recall this happening more than a handful of times in my whole career.
    What is more important to me? The interpretation of the work or the choice of what recording you  choose to post.

    If I can give an example: two clips of the lacrimosa in your post, Sussmayer and Levin.. you accurately state that the opening 3 minutes is the same or similar..but if you listen to the two examples back to back, there is a huge difference in how it is performed and recorded!
    My god ...the trombones (particularly the Bass trombone) in the Levin and the total over aggressiveness of the ensemble as a whole, is simply a slap in the face ..of the style in Mozart's time.

    I found the Levin version terribly offensive. And I'm a trombone player!

    So, as a musician, I feel there is much more to be mined in actual various performances of a given work than fidgeting about authenticity of a particular score.
    I realize there is room for both but the focus here seems to disregard what is most important to me as the listener.

    In reality, I take issue with most of the music performances of these posts... at least the ones that I can force myself to listen to.
    The Tuba Mirum is very dear to me as I've studied and performed it many times in my career. It is in fact, one of the most widely used audition excerpts in major orchestras throughout the world.
    So, I think I can fairly accurately comment on the choices that you have made.
    This solo is one that I take great pride in playing as I feel that I have honed it to a standard that is hard to beat so perhaps I am being too sensitive here.

    I would like to see more traffic in these posts too but I am simply sharing my own perspective on why I sometimes am frustrated reading them.

       

    •  An experienced classical musician will likely (4+ / 0-)

      Not like most of the classical performances posted on YouTube. That's a reasonable statement. I'm not thrilled with a lot of the recordings available there for works I'd like to use. However, I don't think the point of this series is really for people like you (or me, for that matter).

      For the person who "likes" classical music, but might not be a devotee or professional, this series does a good job of showing the wide range of classical music, and showing how the art goes so much deeper than just throwing a bunch of music at a bunch of people and having them go at it.

      I think the goal is to learn to explore the canon. If you find a couple of works and say, "hey, that's cool," and go on from there, the diary's accomplished its purpose. I don't think the mission, though, is to say "these are the best recordings out there." They're YouTube videos, not Gramophone award winners!

      •  maybe so, lone1c but I have been trying to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lone1c, Dumbo, Dallasdoc

        support these diaries since classical music is my life.

        My example of drastically different approaches or concepts from two different performances of basically the same score in the examples of this diary clearly shows (to me) how one can not make a clear comparison without carefully acknowledging the biggest variance between the two.

        I really don't wish to throw a wrench into these posts. I don't have the same background as most of the viewers here. I do remember how music was presented to me  as a child. It reached me from listening and not dissecting some more obscure details of how the sausage was made.

        Some highly acclaimed Music Historians had a hand in guiding me to appreciate this music from an emotional view and only later in my education and maturation did they begin to share more specific clues for my understanding.

        Conceptually, each composer has a finger print and I feel that pointing out specific details in any composer's unfinished material is more of a footnote in the big picture.

        This is not simply a Mozart thing and one can find significant examples of disputed authenticity throughout the literature.
        If I were charged with music education I guess I would find it much more useful to explore the emotional side of music with listening to various examples of the same material from various points of view.
        And perhaps yo are totally correct. My mind is entrenched into nuance and interpretation as presented by the best established standards.
        There is plenty to mine in that alone.

        As you opine, I should just butt out of these dairies. I felt that I needed to comment as I always try to read music related posts.
        My sincere apologies.

        •  I don't think we should "butt out" (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          verdeo, ybruti, GeorgeXVIII, Dumbo, dotdash2u

          Just remember that we're not the only target audience.

          As I mentioned in one of my comments above, I (used to) do a lot of program-note writing, which involved me trying to figure out how to explain music (sometimes quite difficult and remote) to a non-cognoscenti audience. And I agree that focusing on what makes the composer's sound world unique is important. (For instance, what makes Brahms Brahms and not Beethoven 2.0, as the charge so often was, even in Brahms's day. Or what separates the Duruflé Requiem from Fauré's.)

          However, there's also the challenge of doing this on a week in, week out basis. If everything proceeds in the same way, there's really no difference. A little variety is good for everybody.

          I think we both are in agreement that the Requiem is a unique work in many ways. I actually find the troubled compositional history of this work to be one of the more interesting details surrounding the work. Where else can you hear so many people try to complete someone else's work? There's only been one or two attempts, for instance, with Schubert's "Unfinished" or Bruckner's unfinished Ninth Symphony, for instance. As a matter of fact, the only work that's been "completed" anywhere near as often that I know of is Mahler's Tenth. And certainly no work better known than the Requiem has had such a curious gestation.

          Of course, you could always submit a guest post in the series on a work you'd love to share with the rest of us. . . . (I'd like to do that myself, if time ever permits.)

          •  I could use somebody to do the (0+ / 0-)

            Beethoven Symphony #4 in about four weeks.  I was wondering if I should solicit somebody to do that today.  Interested?  A different approach would be good.  I'll offer the same thing to Verdeo above.  I was otherwise going to skip the fourth completely because I just, well... don't like it.

            •  ha! now I've put my foot in it! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo

              I can safely say ..there are no trombones in the 4th...so I'm useless.

              If I had the time and wherewithal though, I really think something like the 4th would be interesting if one would do a simple drop the needle analysis of the structure of that with the intro, statement defining the subject...with a listen of a few bars..then follow the structure  through development as one would analyze a paragraph of prose.

              I find that fascinating when someone knowledgeable disassembles a classic work.

              Perhaps it might need more information for the casual reader, but that's where I find the magic in music.

              I must say though thanks to lone1c, I have a better understanding and appreciation about what you are offering Dumbo! I just felt a frustration coming on and figured I had to express my feelings out in the open here.

    •  I've thought about (and rejected) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      verdeo

      the idea of writing a whole meta-diary on HOW these diaries should be written.  Believe me, it's an interesting topic for ME.  But I would feel like I was being self-centered doing such a thing.  

      And, by the way, I prefer a controversial post like yours than one that praises me.  But then, I may be different that way.  So feel free to object to my diaries' methods.

      Why I chose to write the diary this way:  

      First, I'm surprised I did the Requiem at all.  It's not my favorite Mozart work, although I can pick many parts of it that I love.  As I said in a previous post, I prefer the more life-positive, ebullient side of Mozart.  

      But I needed to wrap up the Mozart series, and I wanted to post something people would READ, so I chose a famous work which says "The End."  

      The most interesting part of the Requiem to many people that are not die-hard Mozart fans is all the backstory.  I could have written a diary about all the myths and legends and traced them, and it would have been very interesting to people who didn't even like Mozart, because it's interesting and twisted and just morbid enough to be lurid.  But all that backstory would have bored me, and it would have been a chore.

      It was running across the Evanescence clip at the top that made my mind up.  Okay, I know, you don't like it necessarily, but I found it very entertaining and kind of trippy to hear the Requiem being USED in such a way.  And then the one clip led to another, and many, many bookmarks.  And so the idea arose to compare how different PEOPLE have used the Requiem.

      Now, I understand where you're coming from about how you prefer to compare different performances of an established work.  I get it.  Here's my perspective on that.  I'm a listener/fan, not a performer.  I've never been in an orchestra.  And my attitude is very different in that when I listen to a piece of music, I'm always trying to FILTER OUT THE PERFORMERS so I can hear the music.  Try to get what I'm saying.  In my head, there's some kind of Platonic ideal of, say, Mozart's Jupiter finale, and it's 100% Mozart Jupiter finale, no conductors, no instruments, no music halls, no recording engineers.  I think I've always listened to classical music that way because the rigors of having to put on a public performance were never an issue for me.  To me, HOW a work is performed has always been like an irrelevant side issue.  I DO have performances that I prefer over others (oh, DO I), but I've never felt like I was listening to Horowitz.  I've always felt like I was listening to Chopin and Horowitz was just there delivering the goods and doing it well.  I've never identified with those people who swoon over specific performers and conductors, although I think I understand where they come from.

      So there's a basic perspective difference between us.

      Now, why did I include those amateur clips at the top?  (I'm explaining just because it's nice to finally explain how I make my choices, not to defend myself.)  It was because I find them absolutely endearing!  Even that poor guy who couldn't spell Morzart, but he could spell the name of his expensive guitar.  I could say more but I don't want to be cruel.  He obviously loved the piece.  All those people loved the music.  There are many clips that are much better performed than those, but I like the love that comes through on bad, eccentric, fan-produced clips like those.

      Plus, there's the added benefit that starting the diary with such clips draws in people not familiar with the music that want to see what the trainwreck is about.  Come for the disaster,  stay for the Titanic!

      Now, next point.  Focusing on the obscure details.  I discovered the hard way, doing these Mozart diaries, something that I hadn't seen beforehand and might not be obvious: that explaining Mozart REQUIRES focusing on details.  Why?  Because doing it any other way just doesn't get it across.  When I started this series, I started it with the idea in my mind that if I could just lay out the whole geography of a long form piece of music that I could act as a Sherpa guide to people who otherwise didn't get what was going on and got lost and stopped processing it all.  I still feel that way.  That method, however, feels inadequate with Mozart.  So I started to focus on small details and to blow off the big picture, something I would have never foreseen myself doing.  Why?  Because the beauty of Mozart, the thing that makes his music NOT Beethoven-lite, is the fantastic charm in the small details, like they are little Faberge eggs.  Falling in love with Mozart, then, is like falling in love with a girl who has just the right nose, so beautiful that everything else just fades out of the picture.  

      I've shared before that I was not a big Mozart fan for many years.  I was a fan, but I didn't really GET what the big deal was about.  It was Beethoven-lite.  Banal and repetitive and almost flippant in comparison.  What I would have liked to get across, and I have no confidence that I did, was just how much Mozart, overall, is to be appreciated as Mozart, his music it's whole own separate genre with different aims.

      ------- Now, I'd like to make an offer to you, the same offer I made to Lone1c below.  I don't want to do Beethoven's 4th.  Why?  I just don't like it very much.  I'm gearing up to do the others, starting with #5.  So I am eager to solicit somebody to do #4 in a few weeks, after I finish the Fifth.  If you want the job, it's yours.  I'm not saying this like, "Okay smart guy, show us."  I really just don't want to do the 4th and I think an eclectic didactic approach to these things is just fine.  You probably CAN illuminate something that I can't because of my own quirks.  So, I need a volunteer.  

      Personally, I see two ways to do Beethoven: Music Appreciation 101, where you explain how da-da-da-DAH is reused, and how this is the development, this is the recapitulation, etc.  The other way is go for the "radio show conductor play-off" approach, which you may be familiar with from geeky radio shows, where some guy plays snippets from a dozen different recordings and compares and contrasts.  I can see going both ways, and with all the recordings on Youtube, it's easy to do it either way.

  •  The Best performance of Mozart's Requiem? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    verdeo, ybruti, Dumbo, Dallasdoc

    In my personal opinion -  I know virtually nothing about music academically - my favorite Mozart conductor by miles and miles, to the point of only buying Mozart conducted by him - is Karl Bohm.
    Bohm, in  my opinion does not conduct Beethoven as well as Klemperer or Wagner as well as Wolfgang Sawallisch, but for Mozart he is perfection IMO.
     I do love the Bohm 1971 performance of Mozart's Requiem with some of my favorite singers including Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig and Peter Schreier:
    http://www.amazon.com/...

  •  Yippee! Hotlisted for later (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Dumbo

    Recced and tipped for now. Thank you!

  •  This is wonderful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Dallasdoc

    Excellent, and truly worthy diary.

    Great!

  •  the video is awesome ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    ... loved their interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus!

    Tax the rich! That's where the money is.

    by jackmac on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 10:05:53 AM PDT

  •  sorry, should clarify ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    ... I really loved the Evanescence video.  The others are great, too.

    Tax the rich! That's where the money is.

    by jackmac on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 10:09:03 AM PDT

  •  One of my favorite pieces of music. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    And I haven't listened to it for ages.  Thanks!

    "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 10:23:37 AM PDT

  •  Poor Sussmayer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Dumbo, Dallasdoc

    I am fortunate to have played the Mozart Requiem several times in NYC, mostly on "period" instrument (trombone, this is how I make my living). I have played the Sussmayer and Levin versions. I think Sussmayer, being a Mozart student, around Mozart during his lifetime, is probably the best at actually completing the Requiem, as all of the consequent versions are completed with views that are probably clouded by knowledge of a century or more of musical development that might cloud one's view of what would be "appropriate".   Part of the famous "Tuba Mirum" trombone part is Sussmayer's, and is a delight to play, It always feels empty to me to not play it. Nonetheless, great diary! I have recently completed my DMA in music and one class did a similar study of Handel's "Messiah". All very fascinating. Thanks for your work!

  •  OK, now I have to pull out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Dallasdoc

    all the old Mozart recordings and listen. Will have a marathon of Mozart for the next couple of weeks and then start in on Beethoven symphonies. I will drive my family crazy. Just look what you've done, it's all your fault (thanks btw :-).

    Nice diary/post, thoroughly enjoyed it. That first clip of music though????.....very scary. Will have to show my own tweenish person that clip, she will probably laugh hysterically or be horrified. I might try my luck at getting her to watch Amadeus.

  •  Fascinating, fascinating! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Dallasdoc

    Thanks for this amazing piece of work. I was astonished to learn about and listen to the various completions. Wow.

    I love singing the Requiem. There are parts that are so evocative and can bring tears to my eyes just hearing them in my head.

    Just because it's made up doesn't mean it isn't true.—Plan 10 from Outer Space

    by mofembot on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 01:14:25 PM PDT

  •  I love this series of diaries! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    My daughter decided to major in classical voice so I am trying to learn as much as I can about all things classical.

    I've started teaching myself to play the guitar and have been reading all kinds of books on music theory. Your articles help me to understand what I've read.

    Thank you!

  •  Thank you, thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    for reawakening my love of classical music.  I went home yesterday and downloaded not one, but two recordings of the Requiem (one the Hogwood version mentioned above).  I also downloaded a lovely Arvo Part piece I heard on the radio at my physical therapist's office!  A diary about him would be interesting as well

    "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 05:50:43 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure who Arvo Part is, but I think (0+ / 0-)

      one of the other posters mentioned him.  Might have been Proudtobeliberal (who does a diary series on Mondays, and he's even more into choral works than I am.)  Glad you enjoyed the diary. :)

  •  Awesome post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo

    Just got around to reading it - thanks for posting this!

    We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

    by TheOrchid on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 01:16:41 PM PDT

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