This week’s music is the “Lacrimosa” movement from Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor.
Mozart’s Requiem, one of the masterpieces of the choral repertoire, is shrouded in mystery. It was commissioned anonymously by what Mozart called “an unknown, gray stranger” who appeared one day on his doorstep. Mozart, against his family’s advice, accepted the commission. In a strange twist of irony, Mozart was dying while he wrote it. As he wrote in his journal, he was essentially writing his own Requiem. He died before it was finished at age 35; his students finished it.
We will be listening to one of the movements of the Requiem called “Lacrimosa.” The word lacrimosa (Latin for “weeping” or “tearful”) comes from the Roman Catholic Dies Irae Requiem Mass that was popular during Mozart’s youth. The Lacrimosa movement is the last part of the Requiem that Mozart wrote before he died. The orchestra begins with a soft, rocking rhythm before the sopranos and altos introduce the mournful melody. This melody is then repeated throughout the movement, each time with one more voice added.