Mozart’s Requiem

What’s better than hearing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem in D minor performed live by one of the best symphony orchestras in the world?

Last Saturday, I went to hear this incredible performance LIVE in Powell Hall with a couple of my friends. I can honestly say that this was one of the most exciting nights of the semester! Not only is the concert hall beautiful with golden walls and glass chandeliers, but also the music itself. And what’s even better? Spending the evening with friends who sat right next to me as we listened to this masterpiece performed by the St. Louis Symphony.


post-concert group pic!

The Requiem is Mozart’s final composition (aka he was writing this mass right before his own death, as if it was one for himself!). In fact, even the program of the concert said that, “It was proposed that the composer was beset with presentiments of death and became convinced he was actually composing his own funeral music; that the messenger who brought the commission was “a tall, thin, grave-looking man,” and that Mozart believed that he was a spectral emissary from the next world; that the composer worked feverishly at the requiem on his death bed, dictating passages with his dying breath.” Moreover, the key of D-minor is known as the saddest key signature. Hearing this deadly work (literally) performed live in the saddest key was *mind-blowing*.

Crazy, right? There have been many speculations regarding how this work came into being, even with movies, like Amadeus, portraying the story behind the Requiem. Of course, not all of these depictions are accurate ones. However, one thing that remains true is the notes performed. I loved the vocal soloists for each voice (bass, tenor, alto, and soprano) and how the choir and orchestra fit perfectly together. My favorite movement from the performance was Lacrimosa. It was so sad, yet a bit “bittersweet” because the repetition of the notes gave off a little hope. Soon enough, we heard a celebratory “Sanctus” towards the end of the work.

The scoring of this 50-minute work consists of 2 basset horns, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, a timpani, chorus, organ, and strings. As a musician, I was originally shocked by the lack of instruments onstage. Yet, the sound in the forte sections were so loud! Throughout the performance, I compared the sound to the one from the Wash U Symphony Orchestra (which has more instruments than this work!). It is interesting seeing Mozart work magic with a comparatively smaller ensemble.

Now that I have listened to the St. Louis Symphony perform, I am so pumped for my Wash U Symphony Orchestra concert next Friday. We have one more rehearsal on Monday evening before our final concert of the semester on Friday night. I better practice some more over break, yikes! 😛


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
~ Nancy <3