Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rest In Peace

      Mozart passed away in his home 222 years ago today, December 5, 1791, leaving behind his wife, two sons and an unfinished Requiem Mass that would come to be known as one of the most incredible compositions in the history of classical music. Perhaps the reason why the Requiem is so haunting is because Mozart believed he was writing it for himself.
      Earlier that year, a man in gray had come to Mozart's door commissioning a Requiem Mass without giving a name. Later, it was discovered that the message had come from Count Walsegg, a young man Mozart never knew who had recently lost his wife and planned to pass the composition off as his own.
      The day of his death, Mozart shared with his friends his feelings on composing the Requiem: "Did I not tell you I was composing this Requiem for myself?"
      Mozart died at age 35, not two months before his birthday, almost completing the Lacrimosa, perhaps the saddest and most beautiful movement in the entire piece. The Requiem was completed according to his instructions by his student, Franz Xaver Süßmayr.
      Mozart once said of death in a letter to his father in 1787:
"I have made it a habit in all things to imagine the worst. Inasmuch as, strictly speaking, death is the real aim of our life, I have for the past few years made myself acquainted with this true, best friend of mankind, so that the vision not only has no terror for me but much that is quieting and comforting. And I thank my God that He gave me the happiness and the opportunity (you understand me) to learn to know Him as the key to true blessedness."
     May Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart rest in peace!

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