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The Requiem Mass in D minor was incomplete at the time of Mozart’s death in 1791 at the age of 35. The mass had been commissioned in July 1791, through an intermediary, by Count von Walsegg, to commemorate the death of his young wife. It is believed that he intended to pass the work off as his own composition. Mozart was working on two operas at the time (The Magic Flute and La Clemenza di Tito) but could not afford to turn down this commission. He intended to finish the requiem in 1792. By the time he started work on the mass he was already gravely ill with a fever, and although expected to recover, died in the early hours of December 5th 1791. Only the first two movements of the requiem had been completed in full with all vocal and orchestral parts, though other sections were sketched out with full notation for voices and continuo, and indications for orchestration. There has been much debate and confusion over how much of the Requiem was Mozart’s work and how much was written by other composers at his widow Constanze’s request. Desperate to hand over a completed work to the Count, fearing that he would demand return of the payment already advanced, she approached other composers in secrecy. Eventually Franz Süssmayr agreed to complete the mass. He had been a close musical confidante of Mozart and may have discussed Mozart’s intentions with him. He may also have used material from the other composers Constanze had approached and from notes made by Mozart on scraps of paper, though the existence of these has been in doubt as they did not survive. Süssmayr claimed to have composed three full movements himself. Constanze was at pains to present the work as wholly Mozart’s and thus suppressed Süssmayr’s role. Many of the myths about the completion of the work undoubtedly stem from accounts put about by Constanze, including that Mozart was writing his own requiem.


Constanze had a copy made of the work, though the Count had forbidden this, and the mass was given its first performance in January 1793 as a benefit concert for her.


Süssmayr’s version is the commonly accepted edition, although musical scholars have provided other well researched versions using material from other compositions by Mozart as guides.



Saturday November 25th 2017

7.30 pm


St George's Church

St George's Walk






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In conjunction with Havant and South Downs College

Students will join the choir and small orchestra


Soloists from The Royal Academy of Music and Chichester Cathedral Choir


Orchestra from The University of Chichester


Conductor:   William Waine



to be announced          .

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      Requiem Mass

         in  D Minor      






Haydn:  Insanae et vanae curae

Mozart:  Ave verum corpus