Mozart: Requiem

Sunday, May 7th • 3pm

with the 
This concert is made possible in part by the Sally Ann and Joe Hall Fund of the Charlotte Symphony’s Endowment and is dedicated, with appreciation and respect, to their memory.


Charlotte Master Chorale
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
Lauren Russell, soprano
Jennifer Wiggins, mezzo-soprano
Elliott Brown, tenor
Kendrick Williams, bass
Kenney Potter, conducting

East Mecklenburg High School
6800 Monroe Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28212
Parking is free in the main lot on the south side of the school.

The Charlotte Master Chorale and Charlotte Symphony Orchestra are collaborating to bring great music to our community. Mozart's epic final work, his Requiem in D minor, K. 626, will be performed at East Mecklenburg High School on Sunday, May 7th, at 3:00 pm.

What makes this concert so special?

The concert will feature the Charlotte Master Chorale, fresh off of its performance in Carnegie Hall; four fantastic soloists from the Charlotte region; as well as our beloved Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. The intimate setting will allow for the audience to be close to the music-making as choir, soloists, and orchestra perform one of Western music's most admired works. Additionally, thanks to the generous support of the Sally Ann and Joe Hall Fund of the CSO Endowment, and inspired by their efforts to broaden access to classical music, we are offering all audience members "pay what you want” tickets.

About the Work

Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart 400.jpgWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) is widely regarded as among the greatest composers in the history of Western music. Despite his short life, he produced more than 800 works of virtually every genre of his time. Many of these compositions are acknowledged as pinnacles of the symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral repertoire. His Requiem, composed at the end of his life, was created in a shroud of mystery. His health was deteriorating in early July of 1791 when, as the story goes, a stranger showed up at the composer’s door on behalf of an individual who wanted a Requiem Mass from Mozart—but only if Mozart didn’t seek to learn the identity of his patron.

At the time, Mozart was battling debilitating fevers, while deeply engaged with the writing of The Magic Flute and other works. On December 5, 1791, at the age of 35, he died without having completed the Requiem.

Mozart had been paid upfront but had been promised a bonus, and his widow Constanze was keen to submit a complete score to receive the balance. Joseph von Eybler was one of the first composers to be asked to secretly complete the score, and worked on the movements from the "Dies irae" up until the "Lacrymosa." After this work, he felt unable to complete the remainder and gave the manuscript back to Constanze. 

The task was then given to another composer, Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Süssmayr borrowed some of Eybler's work in making his completion, and then added his own orchestration, as well as new movements typically found in a  Requiem. Other composers may have also helped. It has also been suggested, based on a letter written by Constanze, that Mozart had left explicit instructions for the completion of the Requiemon "a few scraps of paper with music on them... found on Mozart's desk after his death." How much Süssmayr's work may have been influenced by these "scraps" (assuming they existed) remains a subject of speculation among musicologists to this day.

Mozart’s patron turned out to be Count Franz von Walsegg, an amateur musician who had a reputation of commissioning and then representing other people’s music as his own. Walsegg wanted a Requiem following the death of his young wife, Anna. Constanze needed to keep secret the fact that Süssmayr had anything to do with the composition of theRequiem at all, in order to allow Count Walsegg the impression that Mozart wrote the work entirely himself. She eventually convinced the Count to acknowledge the work as Mozart's, and she continued to promote the work as solely Mozart's in order to receive revenue from the work's publication and performance. Scholars to this day argue over who wrote what, and how Mozart would have completed the work himself had he lived long enough to do so. Other versions have emerged through the years, but the one most performed and "recognized" as the Mozart Requiemis still the Süssmayr-completed version. As to the issue of who composed what, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) is reported to have said, "If Mozart did not write the music, then the man who wrote it was a Mozart."