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Masterworks Chorale in concert April 28

April 18, 2019

The Indiana State University School of Music Student Ensemble Series will present the Masterworks Chorale in concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28 in Tilson Auditorium of Tirey Hall on the ISU campus.

The 55-member Masterworks Chorale will perform the well-known "Requiem" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, under the direction of School of Music Assistant Professor Mark Carlisle. The work will be performed with a chamber orchestra of ISU faculty and students, and soloists will feature voice faculty members Colleen Davis, Yana Weinstein and David Mannell, as well as graduate voice student Rodrigo Cruz.

The 12 movements of Mozart's choral masterpiece are some of the composer's most familiar and well-loved music, containing achingly beautiful melodies and difficult fugal sections, but the Requiem is also a work shrouded in mystery.

Mozart was not in the best state of mind when he received an anonymous commission to compose a Requiem Mass. His health was deteriorating, and he was incredibly busy completing other works. It was in early July 1791 that an "unknown, gray stranger" approached Mozart, saying that he represented someone who wanted a Requiem from Mozart, with the understanding that Mozart not seek to learn the identity of his patron. Mozart threw himself obsessively into the work, even as he was still finishing his operas, Die Zauberflöte and La Clemenza di Tito. However, due to his declining health and heavy compositional obligations, he was able to complete only the Introit and Kyrie movements, managing to sketch the voice parts and bass lines for the Dies irae through the Hostias movements.

Mozart died on Dec. 5, 1791, at the age of 35, before he could complete the mass. Payment had already been received, and Mozart's widow feared that if she gave the incomplete work to the patron, the patron would want his money back. She asked Austrian composer Joseph Eybler, a friend of Mozart, to finish the score, but he was unable to do so, and passed the task of completing the work to Mozart's pupil, Franz Süssmayr, to whom Mozart had given detailed instructions about finishing it.

Süssmayer copied the entire completed score in his own hand, making it virtually impossible to determine who wrote what parts of the entire work, and gave it to the stranger. It cannot be determined to what extent Süssmayr depended on now lost "scraps of paper" for the remainder of the Requiem, but he later claimed that the Sanctus and Agnus Dei were his own.

It was eventually determined that the "stranger" was, in fact, the valet of Count Franz von Walsegg, who had already acquired the reputation of offering the music of other composers as his own. The Count used the commission of the Requiem to commemorate his late wife, but it took a full decade before Mozart's widow was able to persuade Walsegg to acknowledge Mozart as the true composer of the work.

Several members of the ISU Masterworks Chorale will sing the work again this summer as members of the choir in residence at the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Tickets are available by calling the School of Music at 812-237-2771 or at the door. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for non-Indiana State students and free for Indiana State students (with a student I.D.) and children under the age of 10.


Contact: Mark Carlisle, School of Music, Indiana State University, at 812-237-2761, or