Revising Mozart's Requiem


Though the film Amadeus took its share of dramatic liberties, the fact that Mozart died before the completion of the Requiem is true enough. The version we normally hear was completed by his student Sussmayer.

Many have felt that Sussmayer didn't do a very good job. However, what could be done? Sussmayer was there and Mozart would have discussed ideas with him.

I recently heard about a recent effort to modify the Requiem.


(Image from Amazon.com)

This recording is based on the revisions undertaken by Mozart scholar Robert Levin. His premise was that Sussmayer probably got most of it right so wholesale changes would be unwarrented. Levin made some adjustments to clean up some sections that seem too un-Mozartian. Not being musically knowledgeble, I could not detect the changes.

However, there were two more notible changes that could not be missed. Levin adds an Amen fugue after the Lacrimosa. The basis for this addition was the discovery of preliminary sketches for such a fugue.

Levin was thus faced with a decision: did Sussmayer abandon the idea? did Mozart abandon the idea and thus never told Sussmayer? or did Mozart want it in the Requiem but somehow the sketches never got to Sussmayer?

Levin decided to add it in. While at it, he also extended the Hosanna fugue at end of the Sanctus.

To hear audio clips from this CD visit the Telarc site.

Enjoy!

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