Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/414

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


402

��MOZART.

��78 ; Hostias, 54 : the last eight bars, containing voice-parts, organ, and first-violin, go to the words ' Fac eas Domine de morte transire ad vitam,' followed by the direction ' Quam olim Da Capo,' that is to say, repeat the last 35 bars of the Domine. His widow, in her anxiety to have the score completed, and thus satisfy the person who had ordered it, first applied to Eybler, but after a few attempts he threw up the task, and she then entrusted it to Siissmayer, who not only had more courage, but was able to imitate Mozart's hand. He copied what Mozart had sketched in, filled up the gaps, wrote a Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, of his own, and, to give unity to the work, wound it up by repeating the fugue of the Kyrie to the words ' Cum sanctis tuis.' The score thus completed was handed to the messenger, who afterwards proved to have been Leutgeb, steward to Count .Franz von Walsegg, of Ruppach. The Count, who had lost his wife Anna Edlen von Flamm- berg, on Feb. 14, 1791, and wished to perform a Requiem to her memory, copied out the score, inscribed it ' Requiem composto dal Conte Walsegg,' and absolutely had it performed as his own on Dec. 14, 1793. After wanderings almost as complicated as those of Ulysses, the various portions, in the original handwriting, were at length safely landed in the Hof bibliothek of Vienna. They consist of (i) the autograph 'Requiem and Kyrie, with the remainder com- plete in Sussmayer's hand, bought by the Hof- bibliothek in 1839 for fifty ducats; (2) Nos. 2 to 9 just as they were left by Mozart; (3) twelve sheets presented by the Abbe" Stadler, and (4) thirteen bequeathed by Eybler in 1846. The discovery of the autograph was the most con- clusive reply to Gottfried Weber, who, as is well-known, disputed for years the authenticity of the Requiem. It has been analysed with becoming love and reverence by 2 Holmes, and by Jahn in his second volume. The latter con- cludes his observations thus ' It is the true and legitimate expression of his artistic nature at its highest point of finish his imperishable 8 monument.' An admirable summary of the whole story will be found in ' Mozart's Requiem, by W. Pole, F.R.S., Mus. Doc.'; London, No- vello, 1879.

We have seen Mozart, when a mere boy, turn- ing from childish play to serious occupations : a

1 The heading 'Bequlem dt me, W. A, Mozart mp 792' la touching, as showing how he looked forward to its completion.

3 A Critical Kssay, etc.

3 This, Mozart's last work, was the first of his vocal works (Including his operas) to be performed in England. John Ashley Introduced it at Covent Garden Theatre on the first oratorio evening during Lent, Feb. 20, 1801. The piece which preceded It was a Dead March with cornl di bassetto, double bassoons, and two pair of double drums ; after it came a F.F. concerto played by John Field, and Handel's ' I/' Allegro ed 11 Fensleroso.' Books of the words, with a translation of the Bequlem and a biographical sketch of Mozart, were sold at ed. each. Of the Bequlem Farke says, ' It Is a composition of infinite science and dulness, from the effects of which the audience was hap- pily relieved by Incledon's song in I/Allegro, "Haste thee Nymph. 1 " The Morning Fost tald, 'The talents which have celebrated the name of Mozart can scarcely be Justly appreciated by such a composition as the Requiem'; and wound up with, 'It is upon the whole a composi- tion which could only have come from the hand of a master. From the performers it received ample Justice.' According to the Porcu- pine ' the performance was far from being well- managed.' It was repeated on March 4. (Pohl. 'Mozart In London,' p. 144.)

��MOZART.

striking instance of this is his ' Grabmusik ' or German cantata (42) written in 1767, which is anything but a boyish composition. About five years later he wrote, apparently in conse- quence of his visit to Padua, an oratorio by Metastasio called 'Betulia liberata' (118), corre- sponding to an opera seria of the period. The refrain in the last number but one, alternately sung by solo and chorus, is an ancient canto- fermo harmonised in four parts, in fact the same which is introduced in the Requiem to the words ' Te decet hymnus.' This is the only in- dependent work of the kind, his other cantata ' Davidde penitente ' (469) being made up from the Kyrie and Gloria of his last unfinished mass (427) set to Italian words, with two interpolated airs in concert style, which serve to render more prominent the inherent want of unity and con- gruity in the piece.

Of smaller cantatas, the two (471, 623) for the Freemason's Lodge are the only%pecimens. Both show much earnestness and depth of feeling ; the first, for tenor solo and chorus, was composed in 1 785 ; the latter, consisting of six numbers, written on Nov. 15, 1 791, he conducted in person only two days before his last illness.

The long list of Mozart's dramatic composi- tions is headed by a sacred Singspiel, 'Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes,' in three parts, the first being composed by him in Salzburg during the winter of 1766-67, and the others added by Michael Haydn and Adlgasser, the court organist. Mozart's work occupies 208 pages, and is in the style of the Italian ora- torios of the period, the forms being handled with perfect certainty. Mingled with the boy's unsteady writing there are occasional passages, mostly florid, in his father's hand, and the words to the recitatives are by a third per- son. The third tenor air is interesting, and Mozart himself evidently thought it good, as he introduced it with slight variations into his first opera. Immediately afterwards fol- lowed a Latin comedy 'Apollo et Hyacinthus,' which, in spite of the restraint of a foreign lan- guage, was so far a success that it was per- formed once. In Vienna in 1 768 he composed a German operetta or pastorale in one act, ' Bastien et Bastienne,' and an opera buffa in three acts, 'La finta Semplice.' According to Jahn these rise above the ordinary level of contemporary comic operas in spite of their wretched librettos ; and he remarks that in these early dramatic works Mozart fixes the two opposite poles which he touched in his artistic career. The chief number in the ' Finta Sem- plice ' is the tenor air No. 7, previously men- tioned. The three operas composed and per- formed in Milan, ' Mitridate,' ' Ascanio in Alba,' and 'Lucio Silla,' each mark a step in advance. They succeeded beyond the expecta- tions of himself and his father ; as did also 'La finta Giardiniera,' produced in Munich, Jan. 1775, when he wrote home, 'Everything has gone off so well, the noise was greater than I can describe to Mama." The German opera

�� �