Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sermon discusses Mozart's Requiem, and makes points about content integrity relevant to copyright and i.p. debate today


Today, at the Cathedral of Hope (A Congregation of the United Church of Christ since 2007) in Dallas, Rev. Jo Hudson spoke about the suffix “Thine is the Kingdom” to the Lord’s Prayer, but what was interesting to me was how she applied a similar concept from the world of music to her sermon. 

She gave the example of the Mozart Requiem in D Minor, K 626.  It still strikes me today as one of the most energetic and moving requiems, sometimes even more so that the opulent romanticism of Verdi and Berlioz.  Actually, the Cherubini Requiem in the same key makes a good comparison. 

She mentioned the completion of the work by Franz Xaver Sussmayr, to make the point that an addendum to original source of any passage of literature or music does not detract from the integrity of the original. 

 She mentioned the Lacrimosa as a favorite passage, but it does appear that considerable portions, especially the concluding Agnus Dei, were composed by Sussmayr.  In fact, the Mozart  Requiem, as performed, perhaps is the only Requiem to end triumphantly (although in many requiems the Sanctus and Offertorium are rowdy and end loudly).

In fact, Mozart’s Requiem was commissioned by a count to commemorate the death of his wife, and the particular count was thought to try to claim credit for the music himself.  In Mozart’s day, composers usually could not compose and get music published with commissioning or subsidy from others, and often had to please “customers” with their work.  All of this seems to feed into the debate on copyright infringement raging today (as with SOPA on my main blog). 

Another great example of a musical completion is that of Puccini’s opera Turandot, by Franco Alfano, which sounds pretty seamless (and also triumphant).  I saw Turandot at the Dallas opera in 1980, right after Reagan’s election. I still remember the night. 

The Cathedral of Hope service today did include a wonderful offertory of its own, the cantata “To the Ends of the Earth”,  by Lowell Alexander (words Steve Amerson)  with Paul Mason as soloist, with the Sacntuary Chorus and Orchestra.


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