When the Mercyhurst D’Angelo Music Department concert choir performs what is arguably the most sublime religious music ever written – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem” – they’re hoping the audience will be moved by what promises to be a deeply reverent experience.
The performance, featuring 55 choral students, several student soloists and a full orchestra, will showcase one of the world’s best-known and most beloved pieces of choral music on Sunday, March 30, at 2:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
Mozart’s “Requiem” represents the last piece he wrote before he died, and critics say the deep, pulling melodies and mystical harmonies reflect his fear of death and uncertainty about his own salvation. Mozart died before he could complete more than half of the composition, but his widow, Constanze, directed Mozart pupil Franz Xaver Süssmeyr to finish the work.
“Süssmeyr built on ideas already established by Mozart in the first movement, then added three movements of his own and completed the work,” explained Rebecca Ryan, choral director for Mercyhurst College, adding that “Requiem” will be performed in Latin; the text is the Requiem Mass.
“The music is passionate, often polyphonic (several voices singing different material at the same time), poignant and haunting,” said Ryan, who called the piece “challenging.”