The mystery behind Mozart’s final work is called “Requiem”

Bythu lita

Dec 13, 2023

1. Mozart’s biography

Mozart has always been considered the “genius of geniuses”. So who is Mozart? Why is his talent so highly appreciated?

1.1. Who is Mozart?

Who is the musician Mozart, his biography and the mystery of his work The Last Requiem - Photo 1.

Portrait of Mozart. Source: Wikimedia

Mozart (1756 – 1791) was a famous Austrian composer, and considered one of the “greatest” All Time. During his life, he composed more than 600 works, spanning many different musical genres, from symphony, concerto, opera, chamber music to piano recitals. Even though more than two centuries have passed, his compositions are still very popular.

1.2. Mozart’s life

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg (now Austria). From an early age, he showed the qualities of a musical genius. At the age of 4, Mozart began playing the harpsichord (an ancient keyboard string instrument). At the age of 5, he began composing his own works.

A year later, his father began taking him and his sister to perform across Europe for royalty and nobility. Genius Mozart can play many different musical instruments such as violin, organ, piano and harpsichord.

Even though he was very young, the Austrian composer had a good grasp of the musical styles popular in other cities each other in Europe. During this time, musician Mozart also published his first musical works. His first published work was a four-part sonata for violin, which he composed in Paris in 1764 (when he was only 8 years old).

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Musical prodigy Mozart. Source: Wikimedia

After a period of touring throughout Europe, in 1773, musician Mozart returned to Salzburg to work for a few years. The Austrian composer started as an assistant conductor and was paid a small salary. During this time, he began working in many different musical genres and composed many wonderful symphonies before he was 21 years old.

Despite certain successes, the genius Mozart felt it was time to leave his homeland to do something greater.

At the end of 1781, Mozart moved to Vienna – a city known as the heart of classical music in Europe. He was successful and famous here as a pianist and composer. During this time, he also met another famous composer named Joseph Haydn and the two composers became friends.

Mozart earned a lot of money from his concerts, but he often spent more than he earned, so he often had financial difficulties. These debts increased and haunted him for the rest of his life.

In his later years, he wrote some of his greatest symphonies and operas. His most famous operas include Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

1.3. Mysterious death

In 1791, composer Mozart began composing a work for the requiem mass of a deceased person, called Requiem. But he fell ill and died before completing it.

Musician Mozart died on December 5, 1791 in Vienna, at the age of 35. The cause of death is still unclear due to the limitations of autopsy diagnosis at that time. at that time.

According to official records, Mozart died from severe millet fever (a skin typhus that looks like millet). Since then, many speculations have been made about the cause of composer Mozart’s death.

Some say it was due to rheumatic fever, a disease he suffered from many times in his life. Others believe that he died from poisoning.

One of the most popular theories is that Mozart was poisoned by his rival Antonio Salieri – buoyed by the popularity of the film “Amadeus”. This theory is supported by the fact that this genius musician went through a period of depression before his death, suffering from paranoia and existential dread.

Mozart himself also suspected that the cause of his deteriorating health was due to long-term poisoning. However, it is very possible that this is just his subjective view.

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Mozart’s coffin was transported to the cemetery. Source: Wikimedia

The funeral of composer Mozart was held privately with very few attendees, and he was buried in a mausoleum. mass grave. However, the concerts held later in his memory always attracted a large number of fans.

1.5. The legacy of a genius composer

At the time of his death, the genius Mozart was considered one of the greatest composers of all time. He left behind a huge legacy, with more than 600 works, including: 41 symphonies, 16 operas, 27 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos, 25 string quartets, and hundreds of other works. products of all genres were popular in his time.

Some of the most famous works of composer Mozart include: The Magic Flute; Don Giovanni; Marriage of Figaro; Piano Concerto No.27 in B-flat, K.595; Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467; Symphony No.39 in E flat, K.543…

His music was not only loved by the public but also greatly influenced later great composers, most notably Beethoven .

Together with his friend Joseph Haydn, the musician Mozart shaped and perfected the great forms of communicative music. Opera, string ensembles, and concertos marked the classical period. In particular, his operas demonstrate a psychological insight that was unique to the music of the time, and continue to hold a special appeal for musicians and music lovers today. now.

2. The Mystery of the Requiem – Mozart’s last work

Requiem – the last work of composer Mozart is an unfinished piece. And around this piece of music there are many mysteries.

2.1. Mysterious stranger

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The mysterious patron of Mozart’s Requiem. Illustration

One night in early July 1791, a stranger, dressed in gray clothes, appeared at the door of the Austrian composer – Mozart. He said he represented the owner and gave the musician a letter. In the letter, his master asked Mozart to help him compose a Requiem on the condition that Mozart did not try to learn the identity of his patron.

Initially, Mozart did not want to accept the invitation because he was not interested in this genre. Therefore, he deliberately offered an unusually high price with the intention of making this person feel discouraged and give up the idea. Mozart’s price is 60 ducats (an ancient European currency) and it will take about 2 – 3 months to complete.

The next day, the stranger returned with 30 ducats in hand and gave it to Mozart, saying that in 3 months, he would return to get the music and give the remaining 30 ducats.

So Mozart had no other choice but to write the Requiem.

2.2. Requiem for yourself

At the time he agreed to write this piece of music, the genius Mozart was in very bad health. But he still had to try his best to complete his work because he had already received the money. As his health condition worsened, Mozart believed he was cursed when he agreed to write this piece because he knew he was about to die.

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Mozart tried to complete his last work on his deathbed. Source: Statnews

According to his wife, while composing this piece, Mozart often muttered: “I’m afraid I’m writing a Requiem for myself”.

Indeed, nothing has changed. On December 5, 1791, Mozart died at the age of 35 without completing his final work. According to friends and relatives, before he died on his hospital bed, he repeatedly said: “Didn’t I say before that I wrote this Requiem for myself?”.

2.3. Complete the unfinished piece of music

Because she had received an advance payment, Mozart’s wife, Constanze, feared that if the piece was not completed, her sponsor would demand her money back. Therefore, she asked composers Joseph Eybler and Xaver Süssmayr, two of her husband’s former students, to help complete the piece.

In the end, Süssmayr was chosen because his music writing style was quite similar to his teacher. Constanze gave Süssmayr Mozart’s manuscript and notes. Based on these notes, Süssmayr excellently completed his teacher’s final work.

Once completed, Süssmayr copied the entire piece in his own handwriting, then forged Mozart’s signature and gave the piece to the mysterious patron.

2.4. The identity of the mysterious patron

So who is this mysterious patron? Is it Antonio Salieri, Mozart’s archrival as in Amadeus – the Oscar-winning film embellished? The answer is no.

The actual patron was Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach. He wanted to commission a Requiem to commemorate his young wife who had passed away. However, he has a bad reputation for often stealing other people’s works as his own. It took a decade for Mozart’s wife to convince Walsegg to admit that Mozart was the real composer of the Requiem.

2.5. Controversial masterpiece

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Mozart’s Requiem. Source: Wikimedia

Because Süssmayr copied the entire piece in his own handwriting, it is impossible to know how much of his final work Mozart actually wrote.

Many scholars even believe that Süssmayr relied on many other composers to complete this work because he did not have enough talent and imagination.

However, in general, Requiem is still considered a masterpiece, like the composer’s comment Beethoven: “If Mozart did not write that piece, then the person who wrote it was Mozart”.

It can be said that Mozart is one of the greatest composers of all time. Despite passing away at a very young age, he left behind a huge legacy, making a great contribution to the history of world music. No matter how many centuries pass, humanity will still have to mention his name.

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