Mozart's Requiem, unfinished when he died in 1791, has been completed by renowned composer, pianist and University professor Michael Finnissy. One of very few composers to take a contemporary approach to the piece, Michael's interpretation brings new layers of meaning to Mozart's original score.
Michael comments: "It was a great challenge to complete such a well-known, much discussed work, but I have tried to build on the foundations of the existing movements to create a composition which complements the original."
Mozart began the Requiem in 1791 but died the same year, having completed the first six sections, and fragments of others, from a total of 13. A few months after Mozart's death, his former assistant completed some sections that had been sketched out by the composer and added his own music to 'finish' the work.
In more recent times, musicologists have attempted to create the Requiem as they believe Mozart would have finished it. However, Michael is one of very few composers to complete it in a contemporary way. Keeping Mozart's original parts and completing the seventh section in the style of the composer, he rewrote parts 10 to 13 in his own way - partly influenced by composers who lived between Mozart's time and the present day.
Michael says: "It is possible to take brief ideas or longer phrases from past composers and work with them to create something new and original. Rather like a new and modern church growing from the remains of an older building, my composition has grown from Mozart's original material."
The new composition was premiered in Southampton in 2011 by a speciallyassembled choir and orchestra including guest principals, University music staff and students and members of Southampton University Symphony Orchestra.
Listen to excerpts from the unfinished Requiem: