Palestrina Stabat Mater
PALESTRINA STABAT MATER
Australian Chamber Choir
Melbourne Baroque Orchestra
Directed by Douglas Lawrence
One of the most popular choral works, Mozart’s Requiem (K626) is rarely heard using the instruments of the composer’s time, which give the orchestral sound quite a different timbre. For example, the basset horns known to Mozart have a plaintive quality similar to an alto voice and completely different in sound from the instrument as it was revived in the early 20th century by Richard Strauss.
Written during the final weeks of the composer’s life for a patron who wished to remain anonymous, this unfinished work is shrouded in mystery. Possibly the most exciting scene in the 1984 film Amadeus portrays a bedridden Mozart dictating the Confutatis to Antonio Salieri. In order to collect the sizeable fee for the commissioning of the work, Mozart’s destitute widow, Constanze had Franz Xaver Süssmayr complete the work in secret. Partly due to this secrecy, the authorship of certain sections of the work not written in Mozart’s handwriting have been disputed. Given the undisputed genius of Mozart, it is not surprising that since Süssmayr’s completion, other composers have lent their skills to the daunting task of completing the work: Robert Levin, like Mozart, possesses the uncanny ability to improvise extended works at the piano in a wide variety of styles. In order to provide a completion that comes as close as possible to Mozart’s expectations, Levin has availed himself of all the available manuscripts and fragments. Taking into account Süssmayr’s versions, Levin explains that his goal is to revise as little as possible, “attempting in the revisions to observe the character, texture, voice leading, continuity and structure of Mozart’s music”
Palestrina Stabat Mater : 9 minutes
Mozart Rquiem: 53 minutes
You can hear Palestrina’s Stabat Mater together with other great a capella works from the Italian, Spanish and German Renaissance in the concerts below. Please note that the Mozart Requeiem is not included in the Clunes and Mornington programs.
Read more about the mysteries of Mozart’s Requiem in the Guardian.
The Telegraph puts Mozart’s Requiem in the “10 best works of choral music”.