DAYTON, OH (May 22, 2017) – On Friday, June 2, 2017 and Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 8 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present Mozart’s Requiem, the eighth and final concert in the Premier Health 2016-2017 Masterworks Series. DPAA’s Innovation Partner for this 2016-2017 Excite Season is the DP&L Foundation: Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
This last concert of the 2016-2017 Masterworks Series is for Mozart lovers and for those soon to become Mozart lovers. From a once-lost oboe concerto to Mozart’s final and perhaps greatest work, Maestro Neal Gittleman, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the full Dayton Philharmonic Chorus, prepared by Director Hank Dahlman, are filling the Schuster Center with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at its finest.
Although Mozart wrote only one piece featuring the oboe, it should not be discounted. In 1777, Mozart wrote his Oboe Concerto to great success. The following year, he reworked the piece and labeled it as a flute concerto for a commission. Through the years, the piece survived only as the Flute Concerto until in 1920, the director of the Salzburg Mozarteum archives rediscovered the orchestral score for the Oboe Concerto. This rediscovery was fortunate for music lovers in that this composition allows the oboe to shine. Because the orchestral accompaniment is discreet in this piece, DPO’s principal oboist, Eileen Whalen, is front and center to perform what has become one of the most important concertos in the oboe repertoire.
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 began 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.
Soon 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, 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died.
The Requiem was unfinished, but Constanze needed to deliver a finished composition in order to receive final payment of the commission. 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 that 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 perhaps it is best to leave the myth behind. What we do know for certain is that 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 Mozart left a glorious masterpiece.
Ticketholders to this final Masterworks Concert on either Friday or Saturday are cordially invited to return to the Schuster Center on Sunday at 3:00 pm to hear a different and unique take on Mozart’s Requiem when Neal Gittleman and the DPO present the final Connections Concert of the season, focused on a group of six contemporary American composers called Sleeping Giant, who have composed a “re-imagining” of Mozart’s final work. The unique format of this Connections Concert features musical examples of Sleeping Giant’s work on Mozart’s Requiem, with description and explanation by Maestro Gittleman, on the first half of the program, followed by a full performance of Sleeping Giant/Mozart’s Requiem directly after intermission. A Casual Q&A with Maestro Gittleman and a Graeter’s Ice Cream Social follows Sunday’s concert. Ticketholders to the Masterworks Concert on Friday or Saturday will be admitted for free to Sunday’s Connections Concert.
Tickets for Mozart’s Requiem Masterworks Concert range from $16 to $65 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. Admission to Sunday’s performance of Mozart/Sleeping Giant Requiem Connections Concert is free to ticketholders of the Friday or Saturday Masterworks Concert. For more information or to order subscriptions for next season, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.