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Mozart/Sleeping Giant: Requiem

June 2017


   3:00 pm Sunday, June 4, 2017  


NEAL GITTLEMAN conductor, presenter WEBSITE 
MELISA BONETTI mezzo-soprano 
JUSTIN HOPKINS bass-baritone        

The unique Classical Connections format features musical examples and explanation by DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, followed by a performance of the entire composition. Directly following is a casual Q&A and an Ice Cream Social with a free scoop of Graeter's.

For today’s performance, Maestro Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra present a “reimagining” of Mozart’s Requiem by Sleeping Giant. Sleeping Giant is the collective name given to a group of six American composers: Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman. These composers have been reworking some historical musical narratives. Today’s piece is not a rewrite of Mozart’s cherished Requiem but rather an arrangement as “an unsettling but reverential love song to the ritual of classical music.” This jointly composed piece challenges and reveres the original music by creating a unique perspective based on themes and moments found within the body of Mozart’s Requiem Mass.

The genesis of the majesty, mystery, and mythology of Mozart’s Requiem came in the spring of 1791. Mozart was approached by a “mysterious stranger” who had an anonymous commission for a requiem. Intrigued by the request, Mozart began work on the project immediately. Soon, however, he was compelled to focus on other pieces, such as The Magic Flute. It wasn’t until October 1791 that he could compose more of the Requiem. Shortly thereafter, Mozart had begun to feel ill and it wasn’t long before he told his wife, Constanze, and others that he felt he was writing this requiem for himself. He worked tirelessly, even fainting as he composed. Constanze feared for his health and removed the manuscript from him. Mozart was then called upon to write a cantata that had been asked for by a local society. After the successful performance of the cantata, Mozart regained good spirits and Constanze returned the Requiem manuscript to her husband around November 20. Mozart grew weaker and knew that he was dying. Although he soon was bedridden, Mozart continued working on his composition. His pupil Franz Süssmayr remained at his bedside, discussing the piece with his teacher and taking notes and detailed instruction on how the music should be completed. On December 3, Constanze, Süssmayr, and a few others sang bits of the Requiem with Mozart so that he could hear how it was progressing. Then just past midnight on December 5, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died.

The Requiem was unfinished, but Constanze needed to deliver a finished composition in order to receive final payment. At the time of Mozart’s death, only one section was truly complete, several other sections partially complete, and three sections not yet written, so Mozart’s pupil Süssmayr completed the piece. When compared with the rest of Mozart’s work, many scholars believe the Requiem rings true to form and that Süssmayr had been given enough details and guidance to finish the work. The majesty of the Requiem Mass is evident upon listening, but the “mysterious visitor,” Mozart’s illness and death, and the incomplete composition have fostered a mythology of intrigue that has lasted more than two hundred years. But it is best to leave the myth behind. On December 5, 1791, Constanze Mozart lost her husband, the Mozart children lost their father, and the world lost a musical genius. To lessen the world’s loss, Wolfgang Amadeus left a glorious masterpiece.

Don’t miss this sparkling finish to the 2016–2017 Excite Season . . . Order your tickets now!

Series Sponsor: Dr. Charles and Patricia Demirjian
Series Sponsorship Partner: Graeter's  

DP&L Foundation DPAA Innovation Partner – Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts
Bob Ross Auto Group Official Automobile Dealership of the DPO
DataYard Official Data Provider of the DPO
Marriott University of Dayton Official Hotel of the DPO
One Call Now DPAA Communications Partner

Discover Classical 88.1 and 89.9 FM Series Media Partner

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