Opus Ultimum: The Story of the Mozart Requiem

By Daniel N. Leeson | Go to book overview

THE THIRD DIMENSION

The Requiem’s first dimension of impairment dealt with the eight architecturally complete but instrumentationally deficient sections. The second dimension dealt with the special case of the Lacrimosa, a section missing architecture and definition, deficiencies that combined to prevent the kind of a completion that was possible with the first eight. Now we come to the third dimension: even after the problems of the first and second dimensions were repaired, the Requiem was still liturgically unsuitable; the religious obligations of a mass for the dead were far from finished at the point where the Hostias/Quam olim, Mozart’s final drafted section, was concluded. Music appropriate to the additional devotions had to be created.

Following the Hostias/Quam olim, Süssmayr chose to add five additional sections to give the entire composition greater breadth, scope, and duration. Of the five sections, the available evidence coupled with the lack of evidence to the contrary suggests that the first three were composed entirely by Süssmayr and without any substantive assistance from Mozart, though the controversy about that still goes on. The final two sections repeat the Requiem aeternam and Kyrie heard earlier, though the repeat is not exact. Besides beginning the penultimate section, Lux aeterna, in a major key, some rhythms are altered due to the syllabification of the changed text. Despite these differences, the final two sections remain a further but posthumous contribution from Mozart, though there is no reason to believe that, had he lived, he would have concluded the Requiem in this fashion.

It is possible that the first three sections added by Süssmayr were, conceptually, proposed or hinted at by Mozart. A dying man could have conveyed some idea of the three sections with a few short, pithy statements. However, the peculiarity of the inclusion of the final two sections of the Requiem is almost never spoken about in the literature. It is mentioned, of course, but invariably in a single brief statement that notes the presence of the two sections, most often without commentary. Perhaps writers want to close the

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Opus Ultimum: The Story of the Mozart Requiem
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Prologue - The Romance of the Mozart Requiem 5
  • The Very Beginning 9
  • Two Memorials for a Tragic Event 12
  • The Pivotal Character 23
  • Taking Control 26
  • Selecting the Completer 32
  • Süssmayr, and Constanze’s Constancy 36
  • Defining "Incomplete" 47
  • The First Dimension 50
  • The First Dimension- Kyrie 53
  • The First Dimension- Dies Irae to Hostias 57
  • The Second Dimension 67
  • Süssmayr a Plagiarist? an Amanuensis? 73
  • Scraps of Paper 80
  • Too Good for Süssmayr 88
  • Tune Duplication 92
  • The Lesser Talent 97
  • Brussels Desecration 101
  • The Third Dimension 103
  • The Requiem Is Completed 108
  • Ends and Means 113
  • Count Wallsegg’s Story 119
  • Scandal! 126
  • The Manuscript Is Reassembled 131
  • A Festival of Misfortunes and Death 141
  • Contemporary Süssmayrs 143
  • In the Requiem’s Healing Embrace 146
  • Epilogue- a Fiction Story 148
  • Appendix 171
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