by Daniel Hathaway
At noon, Oberlin organ professor Christa Rakich will play music by J.S. Bach and her own compositions on the Tuesday Organ Plus series at the Church of the Covenant.
And this evening at 7:30, The King’s Singers, six alumni of the Choir of King’s College at Cambridge University, will sing a wide variety of music — from William Byrd to Walt Disney — on the Tuesday Musical Association series at Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall (program available for downloading).
For details of this and other events, visit our Concert Listings.
The Cleveland Art Song Festival, which was founded by George Vassos at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1985, moved to Baldwin Wallace for a decade, then returned to CIM in 2017, is to be discontinued after a Winter Festival that runs from December 9-11 at CIM. A valedictory recital on Sunday, December 10 at 5 pm will feature mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, pianist Kirill Kuzmin, and guitarist Jason Vieaux. Click here for tickets and details.
Cellist Joshua Roman, who received his bachelors and masters degrees from CIM, presented a concert on December 3 in New York’s Carnegie Hall exploring the effects of Long COVID. “Titled Immunity, this program traced Roman’s journey through the doubt, struggle, refocus, and renewal he went through as he decided whether or not he would be able to return to his performing career.” Read the Violin Channel article here, and watch a video here in which Roman talks about his experience with the long term effects of the corona virus.
On December 5, 1791, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, who preferred to be called Wolfgang Amadé, died in Vienna after being bedridden for a fortnight with what was officially described as “severe miliary fever,” characterized by a rash that resembles millet seeds.
He left two extended works unfinished — the “Great” Mass in c minor, and the Requiem. Mozart had planned his “Missa Solemnis” for a return visit to his family in Salzburg to introduce his new bride. Constanze had already sung the et incarnatus movement in a performance of the incomplete work during a mass in October of 1783. There’s much speculation about why Mozart never finished the elaborate double-chorus Mass, but he did retext the movements and use them for his cantata Davide penitente, K. 469.
A web of intrigue surrounds the Requiem, much of it promoted by Mozart’s widow, who tapped Mozart’s pupil, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, to finish the Mass so she could be paid by its commissioner, Count Franz von Walsegg — who may have intended to pass the work off as his own.
Leaving such works unfinished as magnificent ruins has a certain Romantic appeal, but that hasn’t deterred later scholars and composers from tying up their loose ends. In Mozart’s case, later hands have set to work both on the Mass and the Requiem, perhaps none so successfully as those of Robert Levin (pictured), who is famous for channeling the composer by improvising cadenzas when performing the piano concertos. Read an article from the Juilliard Journal here.
Levin started early, completing the “Amen” fugue that Mozart had sketched out for the end of the “Lacrimosa” movement (manuscript above) and performing it during his sophomore year at Harvard (I happened to sing in that concert). So, lift a glass to Mozart either by revisiting your favorite performance of Süssmayr’s completion of the Requiem, or by getting to know the piece anew through Levin’s ears. There are several performances available on YouTube, including those by Boston Baroque, and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. You can also compare five different modern completions of the “Amen” Fugue, including Levin’s.