Southampton composer completes Mozart Requiem


A Southampton University professor has completed the Mozart Requiem, 220 years after the composer's death.

Mozart began composing a requiem mass for an anonymous patron in 1791 but, when he died later that year, he had only completed eight sections.

Composer Michael Finnissy, who teaches composition at the University of Southampton, has created his own interpretation of the missing parts.

He said he "imagined Mozart in the present day" to complete the work.

When Mozart died in December 1791 he had only completed the first six sections of the work, eight bars of the seventh and the eighth and ninth sections out of a total of thirteen.

'Looking back'

His former assistant Franz Xaver Süssmayr later completed the Requiem using Mozart's notes and his own composition.

Prof Finnissy said: "Supposing Mozart was alive now in 2011 and he was looking back at himself in 1791 - what would he have to take account of musically, because we are in a completely different musical period?

"I imagined Mozart in the present day, working to complete the Requiem, looking back across the centuries which have passed since his death.

"I asked myself what composers, musical genres and historical events would have influenced him since 1791 - this helped to shape my work."

A specially assembled choir and orchestra from the university will perform the new version in Southampton on Sunday.

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