Under the baton of the American conductor James Gaffigan, the soloists Marita Solberg (soprano), Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano), Joseph Kaiser (tenor) and Alexander Vinogradov (bass), the Orchestre National de France and the Choeur de Radio France perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor, K. 626. The concert was recorded on June 29, 2017, as part of the Festival de saint-Denis in France.
Requiem in D Minor, K. 626, requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, left incomplete at his death on December 5, 1791. Until the late 20th century the work was most often heard as it had been completed by Mozart's student Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Later completions have since been offered, and the most favourably received among these is one by American musicologist Robert D. Levin.
According to a contract that Mozart signed and an attorney witnessed, the requiem was commissioned by the Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach. The count, it seems, pretended to some compositional ability and liked to pass off the work of others as his own. The new requiem, intended as a tribute to the count's wife, was part of that game. Therefore, he insisted that Mozart was neither to make copies of the score nor to reveal his involvement in it and that the first performance was reserved for the man who commissioned the piece.
At the time, Mozart was deeply engaged with the writing of two operas: The Magic Flute and La clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus). Together the three assignments were too much for a man suffering from a succession of debilitating fevers. Most of his failing strength went into the operas, both of which were completed and staged. As for the requiem, he worked on it when strength permitted, and several friends came to his apartment December 4, 1791, to sing through the score-in-progress. Yet his condition worsened, and, by the time of Mozart's death early the next morning, he had finished only the "Introit". The "Kyrie", "Sequence", and "Offertorium" were sketched out. The last three movements – "Benedictus", "Agnus Dei", and "Communio" – remained unwritten, and nearly all the orchestration was incomplete.
Confining musical discussion to those portions of the requiem that are mostly from Mozart's own mind, the orchestra most often focuses on the strings, with woodwinds featured when greater poignancy is needed and brass and timpani largely relied on for forceful moments. Particularly in the vocal writing, Mozart's intricate contrapuntal layers show the influence of the Baroque masters Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel.
Especially in the "Sequence", Mozart underlines the power of the text by setting prominent trombone passages against the voices: chorus in the "Dies Irae" and soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists in the "Tuba Mirum". It is the most prominent use of the trombone in Mozart's entire catalog.
Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
♪ Requiem Mass in D minor, K. 626 (1791)
i. Introitus [01:19]*
ii. Kyrie [05:46]
iii. Sequenz [08:13]
iv. Offertorium [25:52]
v. Sanctus [32:52]
vi. Benedictus [34:30]
vii. Agnus Dei [38:52]
viii. Communio [41:45]
Marita Solberg, soprano
Karine Deshayes, mezzo-soprano
Joseph Kaiser, tenor
Alexander Vinogradov, bass
Choeur de Radio France
Orchestre National de France
Conductor: James Gaffigan
Basilique Saint-Denis, France, June 29, 2017
* Start time of each part
James Gaffigan (b. 1979) is currently the Chief Conductor of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, recently extended for the third time. Since becoming Chief Conductor of the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester James has made a very significant impact on the orchestra's profile, both nationally and internationally, with a number of highly successful tours and recordings. In recognition of this success his contract has been further extended until 2021.
James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The 2019-2020 season features re-invitations to the Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre National de France and Czech Philharmonic, as well as debuts with Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Melbourne Symphony and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
He undertakes four major opera productions in the United States including La Cenerentola at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Ernani at San Francisco Opera, Don Giovanni at Lyric Opera Chicago and Tristan and Isolde at Santa Fe Opera.
The 2018-2019 season saw James make his debut with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In the US he made house debuts at Metropolitan Opera for La bohème and San Francisco Opera for Carmen while European productions included a new production of La Fanciulla del West and Don Giovanni at Bayersiche Staatsoper and Porgy and Bess at Dutch National Opera. Regularly conducting at major opera houses around the world, James' recent appearances include La bohème, Don Giovanni, La Traviata and Le nozze di Figaro at the Wiener Staatsoper; Così fan Tutte, La Cenerentola and Falstaff at the Glyndebourne Festival; Salome for Hamburg Opera; La bohème for the Opernhaus Zurich and Così fan tutte for Chicago Lyric Opera.
James also works internationally with many leading orchestras and recent guest appearances include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskapelle, Wiener Symphoniker, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle, Seoul Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan.
In North America he has worked with New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, St Louis, Baltimore and Toronto, among others. Born in New York, James was named first prize winner of the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition.
In 2009, he completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, in a position specially created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that appointment James was Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked for Music Director Franz Welser Möst.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem Mass in D minor – Christine Schäfer, Bernarda Fink, Kurt Streit, Gerald Finley, Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Audio video)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem Mass in D minor – Lorna Anderson, Daniela Lehner, Andrew Tortise, Stephan Loges, Coro & Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Richard Egarr (HD 1080p)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem Mass in D minor – Werner Pech, Hans Breitschopf, Walther Ludwig, Harald Pröglhöf, Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, Josef Krips (1955, Audio video)