Friday, July 29, 2011

Mozart – Requiem – István Kertész

Although this famous work occupies highest, 626th position in Köchel’s Catalogue, Requiem D Minor in fact wasn’t the last composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Romantic legends about finishing the work laying in deathbed were probably Constanze’s imaginary to avoid refunding of half payment received in advance for the work, and to collect the rest. The mysterious commissioner occurred to be Count Franz von Walsegg, musical dilettante with ambitions to be composer. He presented compositions bought anonymously from various composers as his own works. Requiem was commissioned for commemorate the anniversary of Count’s wife. But Mozart was really scared of strange contract and said to Constanze, he had the premonition he is writing Requiem for his own funeral. Maybe this is why he put aside unfinished score so many times, composing meanwhile many as great works as operas La clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte or Clarinet concerto A Major.
After Mozart’s death widow was in difficult material situation. She turned to composer’s friend Joseph Leopold Eybler, and after he gave up, she asked her husband’s copyist Franz Süssmayr to finish the piece. Later she created the next floor legend about Süssmayr was Mozart’s student. She also forced him to swear that he never betray that it was him who finished the Walsegg’s commission. In last decades of twentieth century there were several completions of Mozart’s work but Süssmayr’s version is still most popular among many different restorations.

Mozart – Requiem – István Kertész

Born in Budapest István Kertész, one of Holocaust survivors, was great Hungarian orchestral and operatic conductor. He died very young, drowned while swimming in Mediterranean Sea when he was only 43. His untimely death stopped rapidly growing international career. Kertész was internationally renowned for his work with best orchestras and for brilliant recordings for Decca. Legendary recording with Wiener Philharmoniker of Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn is one of master recordings. He recorded also complete symphonies by Brahms, Dvořák, Schubert and a lots of symphonic works by Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Ravel, Respighi, Schumann, Shostakovich and many others.
In 1966 Kertész recorded master interpretation of Mozart’s Requiem. Orchestra of Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Choir gave great performance. Perfectly set tempos and precise diversified dynamics help to show the power of some rough instrumentation solutions. Great part of this performance is the quartet of soloists Elly Ameling, Marylin Horne, Ugo Benelli and Tugomir Franz. Beautiful voices and musical refinement developed from inspiration of Mozart’s melodic and harmonic order. This performance is pretty much dramatic, full of fear and suffering, yet it is strongly encouraging to accept doubts and reconcile with everything what is both inexplicable and inevitable.

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