Leonard Bernstein – Requiem (Mozart KV 626) (1989)

FrontCover1.jpgYesterday my mother-in-law passed away at the age of 93 … So this is the right music for the moment:

The Requiem in D minor, K. 626, is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who commissioned the piece for a Requiem service to commemorate the anniversary of his wife’s death on 14 February.

The autograph manuscript shows the finished and orchestrated Introit in Mozart’s hand, and detailed drafts of the Kyrie and the sequence Dies irae as far as the first eight bars of the Lacrimosa movement, and the Offertory. It cannot be shown to what extent Süssmayr may have depended on now lost “scraps of paper” for the remainder; he later claimed the Sanctus and Agnus Dei as his own.

Walsegg probably intended to pass the Requiem off as his own composition, as he is known to have done with other works. This plan was frustrated by a public benefit performance for Mozart’s widow Constanze. She was responsible for a number of stories surrounding the composition of the work, including the claims that Mozart received the commission from a mysterious messenger who did not reveal the commissioner’s identity, and that Mozart came to believe that he was writing the requiem for his own funeral. (by wikipedia)


Leonard Bernstein dedicated this performance to the memory of his late wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre. It was recorded during two concerts in July 1988 in the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral in Diessen at the Ammersee and has been available as a CD since 1989. Bernstein uses the Franz Beyer “completion” of Mozart’s unfinished mass. His tempi are predominantly slow, accents are sharp, and the excellent Bavarians, both orchestral and chorus musicians, achieve a high level of transparency despite the reverberant church acoustics. Bernstein’s reading of the score is neither “romantic” nor “authentic”: it is unique in its uncompromising, searing intensity. The four soloists are outstanding. All in all, this may not be your one and only performance of the Requiem, but it is immensely moving and it will stay with you. Get it while you can. (Gerhard P. Knapp)


Choir and Symphony-Orchestra of the Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Maria Ewing (Sopran)
Jerry Hadley (Tenor)
Cornelius Hauptmann (Bass)
Marie McLaughlin (Sopran)
Friedemann Winklhofer (organ)



01. Requiem 6.39

02 Kyrie 2.45

03. Dies Irae 1.43
04. Tuba Mirum 4.28
05. Rex Tremendae 2.42
06. Recordare 5.42
07. Confutatis 2.21
08. Lacrimosa 5.36

09. Domine Jesu 3.28
10. Hostias 3.59

11. Sanctus 1.48

12. Benedictus 5.14

Agnus Dei:
13. Agnus Dei 4.53

14. Lux Aeterna 6.44

Music composed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with additions from Joseph Eybler und Franz Xaver Süßmayr