Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Requiem for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 626

    Description by Timothy Dickey

    E.T.A. Hoffmann once wrote that "[Mozart's] Requiem is the sublimest achievement that the modern period has contributed to the church." Mozart's deathbed composition held a high appeal for the nineteenth century; in the supposedly more rational twentieth, it ascended to truly iconic status. It did so despite fundamental mysteries of its composition and even its authenticity, mysteries still unsolved in the twenty-first century. Something in the music's gravitas and subtlety touches each successive generation.

    A tangled skein of myths and fairy tales imagine the deathbed genius collapsing upon his manuscript (myths powerfully reinforced by the 1984 film Amadeus), but many facts about the piece are clear. The Countess von Walsegg passed away in February 1791. The Count commissioned a requiem mass from Mozart via a clerk (the "Grey Messenger" of Requiem-mythology). Mozart accepted the job for his unknown patron, having desired to compose some "higher form of church music" (his Ave verum corpus reflects the same wish). After working on the Requiem through October and Novmeber, however, Mozart fell ill and died without completing it. Mozart's widow, needing money, arranged for his friends and pupils to complete the other movements. The Count eventually received a complete Requiem, which he tried to pass off as his own composition; the bulk of this copy derives from the hand of Franz Süssmayr. Scholars have diligently attempted to distinguish Mozart's work from Süssmayr's mishandling of his intentions.

    Mozart's Requiem contains five sections, each capped by a fugue: Requiem/Kyrie, Sequence ("Dies Irae"), Offertory, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Throughout, choral writing drives Mozart's music; even the four soloists rarely sing alone. The darkly colored orchestra supports the choir with often vivid motives. This pictorial aspect is most evident in the Sequence: "Tuba mirum" (solo trombone), "Rex tremendae" (regal dotted-rhythms), "Confutatis" (fiery accompaniment), and "Lachrymosa" (sighing strings). Not only do individual movements display an extraordinary level of motivic unity, Mozart carefully creates motivic relationships across the entire Requiem. The very first melody sung by the basses ("Requiem aeternam"), for instance, is repeated at the very end and also echoes throughout the work; the opening melody of "Dies irae" translates into major mode to open the "Sanctus." Mozart is never afraid, however, of acknowledging his debt to earlier traditions of church music. His fugues deliberately reference Bach, and in the first movement alone he quotes from Michael Haydn's Requiem, Handel's funeral anthem for Queen Caroline, Messiah, and the Gregorian chant known as the "Pilgrim's Tone."

    Parts/Movements

    1. Requiem aeternam
    2. Kyrie
    3. Dies irae
    4. Tuba mirum
    5. Rex tremendae
    6. Recordare
    7. Confutatis
    8. Lacrimosa
    9. Domine Jesu Christe
    10. Hostias
    11. Sanctus
    12. Benedictus
    13. Agnus Dei
    14. Lux aeterna

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 4798418
    2018 Münchner Philharmoniker 793052112547
    2018 Accent ACC 24338
    2018 Linn CKR 449
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Affetto AF 1810
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16010
    2017 Praga DSD 350131
    2017 Harmonia Mundi HMM 902291
    2017 Capriccio Records C 8018
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797060
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon
    2017 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 4798196
    2017 Alpha 377
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875173752
    2016 Glossa Cabinet GCDC 81111
    2016 ABC Classics
    2016 ABC Classics ABC 4812517
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795553
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon B002346910
    2015 Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 15006
    2015 Linn Records CKH 549
    2015 Denon Classics
    2015 ATMA Classique ACD 22722
    2015 Glossa GCD 921121
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Sony Classical 88843014642
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843003502
    2014 Naïve V 5370
    2014 RCO Live RCO 14002
    2014 Linn Records CKD 449
    2014 BIS BIS 2091
    2014 OSJ Alive OSJCD 02
    2014 Urania / Urania Records WS 121232
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843006072
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Linn Records BKD 211
    2013 Erato
    2013 Virgin Classics / Warner Classics 5099973529620
    2013 King's College Choir KGS 0002
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099943329
    2013 EMI Classics
    2013 Ambronay AMY 038
    2013 Apex 461592
    2013 United Classics / United Recordings T 2CD2013006
    2012 Naxos 8501062
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 002894770055
    2012 Decca 4783360
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 Decca
    2012 La Bottega Discantica BDI 238
    2012 Apex / Warner Classics 2564660707
    2012 Naxos Classical Archives 981006
    2012 Membran 233447
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967870
    2012 Documents / Membran MEM 600021
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Classics & Jazz / Universal / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2011 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94264
    2011 Coro COR 16093
    2011 Novum NCR 1383
    2011 Cascavelle VEL 3156
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099909797
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Gall (formerly Gallo) GALLOCD 1344/1355
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 032
    2011 Alpha Productions 178
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0511
    2010 Teldec 256467611
    2010 Berlin Classics 0300069
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Archipel 0505
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 ABC Classics 4764064
    2010 Warner Classics
    2010 Decca
    2010 Sony Classical 88697721022
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 Avi-Music 8553147
    2009 Documents / Documents Classics 231672
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93950
    2009 Denon Records 00795041940421
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics 2127182
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697 52990-2
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 House of Classics 220108
    2009 EMI Music Distribution / Erato / Virgin Classics 5099996695
    2009 NCA 60159
    2008 Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra
    2008 Brilliant 93162
    2008 Avie 0047
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Classic FM / Decca CFMFW 26
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4777164
    2008 LSO Live 127
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4741702
    2008 LSO 627
    2008 Archipel 0395
    2008 Istituto Discografico Italiano 6533
    2008 EMI Classics 212953
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Classics 20949
    2008 WDR 116
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 8266672
    2008 Landscape Classics / Zebralution
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 001050702
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93295
    2007 Apex
    2007 Elatus
    2007 Silva Classics 6044
    2007 Naïve V 5108
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4636542
    2007 Philips
    2007 Rondeau 4019
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220560
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 000958402
    2007 Berlin Classics 0186002
    2006 Musica Di Angeli 99181
    2006 Urania 292
    2006 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon / Philips / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Stradivarius 11012
    2006 Naxos 8557728
    2006 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 53217
    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1000434
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 2894775797
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Berlin Classics 0185882
    2006 Farao / Farao Classics 108048
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 75934
    2006 Erato
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Arte Nova 391070
    2006 Capriccio Records 71067
    2006 Koch 7685
    2006 Cascavelle 3089
    2006 K 617 617180
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 76236
    2006 Lyrichord 8056
    2006 Sony Classical Essential Classics 82876884582
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92113
    2006 Brilliant 92873
    2006 Philips
    2005 EMI Classics 57847
    2005 Brilliant 92702
    2005 Direct Source 4410
    2005 Orfeo 670051
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775296
    2005 Warner Classics 4623372
    2005 Preiser Records 90670
    2005 Virgin Classics 62478
    2005 Harmonia Mundi 2961620
    2005 Philips 00052002
    2005 Telarc Distribution 60636
    2005 Telarc Distribution 80636
    2005 Prophone 015
    2005 Real Sound (RS) 69
    2005 Archipel 0169
    2005 Limestone City 2756
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775811
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775756
    2005 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Brilliant 99072
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2005 Warner Classics
    2005 EMI Classics 5866362
    2005 EMI Classics
    2004 Resonance CDRSB 701
    2004 Chandos 10208
    2004 Nimbus 5241
    2004 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 82876 58705-2
    2004 Challenge Records 72121
    2004 Warner Music 4601912
    2004 Vanguard Classics 1508
    2004 Brilliant 92388
    2003 Delta Distribution 40039
    2003 BBC Music 4119
    2003 Classic Collection 99833
    2003 Rca Red Seal 09026639822
    2003 Classica d'Oro 1069
    2003 Decca 000122502
    2003 Brilliant 99737
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 89808
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Linn Records 211
    2002 Classica d'Oro 1056
    2002 Carus 83207
    2002 Legacy 89854
    2002 Disques Pierre Verany 730061
    2002 Dorian 90310
    2002 Opus 111 30307
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471639
    2002 SPJ Music 90605
    2002 Sony Classical 89849
    2002 Delta Distribution 14575
    2002 Andante 4992
    2001 St. Clair 7333
    2001 Decca / Universal
    2001 Boheme Music GOL04
    2001 Philips 4647202
    2001 Royal Long Play 70689
    2000 Decca 466975
    2000 Delta Distribution 49385
    2000 Stradivarius 33470
    2000 Philips 464 860-2PB11
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 2901620
    2000 Naxos 8550235
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 60764
    2000 Arkadia 78528
    2000 Classico 288
    2000 Amadis 7161
    2000 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243573702
    2000 Seraphim Classics
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 89288
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469621
    2000 Naïve 9965
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469 160-2GP2
    2000 St. Clair 30602
    2000 EMI 62518
    1999 Teldec 21885
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463181
    1999 Vox VOX7534
    1999 Accent 68645
    1999 Glossa 921105
    1999 Cascavelle 5008
    1999 Teldec 17909
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 065-2GCC5
    1998 Nimbus NI1756
    1998 Virgin 5615202
    1998 Aca Digital 20052
    1998 Tuxedo Music 1051
    1998 London 460607
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459004
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459409
    1998 Masterpiece 90021
    1998 Virgin Classics 61501
    1998 Haenssler 98146
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 4579252
    1998 Auvidis 9915
    1997 Accent 97000
    1997 Eclipse Records 64349
    1997 Arte Nova 391072
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 901620
    1997 Chandos 7059
    1997 Point Classics 267109
    1997 Seraphim UK / Warner Classics 7243569734
    1997 Universal
    1997 Carlton Classics 02112
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 41512
    1996 Orfeo 396951
    1996 Teldec 97926
    1996 ASV 757
    1996 Orfeo 430961
    1995 Laserlight 14187/74187
    1995 Orfeo 409951
    1995 Sony Classical 64480
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 66248
    1995 Virgin 61260
    1995 Madacy 3627
    1995 Erato 10697
    1995 Pavane 7336
    1995 Telarc Distribution 80410
    1995 Royal Classics 6486
    1995 Capriccio Records 10589
    1995 Delta Distribution / Laserlight 15882
    1995 London 443009
    1995 Decca
    1995 Philips 446240
    1995 Philips 446 222-2PB25
    1994 Philips 438800
    1994 Philips
    1994 Deutsche Grammophon 439023
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 65202
    1994 Naxos 8003
    1993 Palladio 4151
    1992 Naxos 550235
    1992 London 433688
    1992 Decca
    1992 Astree 8759
    1991 Philips 422519
    1991 Philips 432087
    1991 Sony Classical 46344
    1990 Erato 45472
    1990 London 417681
    1990 CBS Records 42614
    1990 Sony Music Distribution 45577
    1990 Decca 411712
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429160
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429821
    1990 Philips 420197
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 62892
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 427353
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 419 867-2GGA
    1989 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    1988 Decca 417746
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 49640
    1987 Telarc Distribution 80128
    1986 EMI Music Distribution 47342
    1985 Deutsche Grammophon 413553
    1984 Teldec 2292-42911-2
    1984 Philips 411 420-2PH
    Recart 1
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    EMI Music Distribution 63912
    Grammofono 2000 78546
    Laserlight 35857
    Sony Music Distribution 45977
    Iron Needle 1390
    Warner Music
    Fidelio 5006
    Brilliant 92631
    Denon Records 9152
    Haenssler 98979
    Il Sabato 1
    Sony Music Distribution 47211
    Sony Classical 47211
    Royal Academy of Music
    Classic Art 102
    Deutsche Grammophon 471201
    Sipario Dischi 36
    Chandos 8574
    Polygram 4636542
    EMI Music Distribution 74746
    Vox 8060
    Stradivari 6003
    Channel Classics 18102
    Virgin 59648
    Andromeda 2525
    Brilliant 92388/36
    Brilliant 99737/1
    ICONE 9422
    Musica Di Angeli 99186
    Teldec 842756
    Fabbri Editori 004
    Teldec
    Brilliant 92702/10
    Amado Classics 01012
    Brilliant Classics 92113/1
    RCA 60599
    Brilliant Classics 93669/36
    Vox 7811
    Erato 89421
    Brilliant 93162/10
    EMI Music Distribution 63260
    Vanguard 141
    Arte Nova Classics 87073
    Cascavelle 1012
    Channel Classics 18198
    Brilliant 92631/1
    Cetra 1
    Fanfare 3462
    Exultate 103
    Enterprise 4151
    Enterprise 4164
    Esoldun 1002
    Suite Records 6001
    Theorema 121151
    L'Oiseau-Lyre 411712
    Philips 420353
    Artists 39
    Carlton 569145
    EXL 4285
    Telerama 617208
    Historical Performers 12
    Palladio 4164
    Allegro Corporation 1022
    RCA 6535
    Erato 45127
    MCA 29816
    EMI Music Distribution 54525
    BBC Music Magazine 262
    Arkadia 425
    Teldec 72479
    Arion 610004
    Enterprise 907
    Nimbus 1791
    Vivace 326
    Stradivari 6100
    Stradivari 6120
    Vox 8788
    Decca 475 8052DB5
    Sirio 530018