|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
1756 - 1791
1762 - 1842
The Requiem itself is split into fourteen movements. Although there are a lot of varied movements, there are various musical footprints of Mozart's that make a number of them memorable. For instance: the subtle transition from the Introitus to the Kyrie, the trombone solo that opens Tuba Mirum and the famous string ostinato of the Confutatis. I wanted to talk about a couple of the movements (two of my favourites), the Confutatis and Introitus. The Introitus opens the whole work, and is heartbreakingly beautiful. The opening sequences are made up of suspensions between wind and syncopated strings. Each of the parts enter one by one after the basses - and - as the voices stop, the strings lead into a soprano solo that is then mimicked later by the rest of the sopranos and choir, almost sounding like a soprano chorale over the rest of the busy voices. The movement finishes with a recap of the opening ideas, with added semi-quaver phrases for each of the four voice parts. Even within the first movement, Mozart captures the essence and concept of a requiem brilliantly, and leads straight into the Kyrie.
For me, the most striking movement of the whole mass is the Confutatis. Not only does it open with the flurrying sound of the strings' ostinato - here, Mozart seems to create a perfect example of musical juxtaposition with his writing for tenors and basses against the sopranos and altos. The basses open the movement with the words 'confutatis maledictis' which is answered by the tenors. This back-and-forth conversation of aggression carries on between the tenors and basses until the entry of the sopranos and altos, which turns to major, piano and - unlike the leaping, staccato phrases of the lower voices - is written in a very linear fashion, that creates a completely contrasted sound. This idea is then repeated before the choir eventually joins together into a mass of constant modulations until the end of the movement. Mozart's Requiem is - by far - one of my all time favourite works. Not only is it intensely beautiful and undoubtedly musically intelligent, it is most exhilarating work I have ever sung, and I urge anyone who hasn't already to listen to the whole thing - or better yet, hear it in concert!