Members of the Vienna Boys’ Choir off duty.

3–6 December 2018

Mozart at Midnight

Vienna, Austria

More information

About Mozart and Vienna
Mozart made his first visit to Vienna in 1762 as part of a concert tour with his sister Nannerl, performing for the Empress Maria Theresa in the Schönbrunn Palace. He visited the city again in 1768 and, following a third trip in 1781, decided to make his home there, lodging with the Weber family.  The father of the family, Fridolin (who had died a few years before), had been a singer and singing teacher, and three of his daughters were accomplished coloratura sopranos.   Mozart knew them all, and eventually married the third daughter, Constanze, at a ceremony in the Chapel of Holy Cross in the Vienna Stephansdom in 1782.

He achieved great fame and success in Vienna, and should have lived comfortably for the rest of his life. But neither he nor his wife were particularly astute when it came to domestic finances. They lived a lavish life-style when money was plentiful but by the late 1780s the family was heavily in debt. The situation began to improve a couple of years before Mozart’s death, but when he fell ill in September 1791, dying in the small hours of the morning of 5 December, the financial situation for his widow was far from  secure. 

About the Requiem
Mozart’s Requiem dates from the very end of his life (1791) and was commissioned by a nobleman (Count Walsegg) who was in the habit of requesting works from notable composers and passing them off as his own.  The count sent an anonymous servant to Mozart, and the mysterious circumstances served to convince Mozart (probably already showing the feverish symptoms of the malady which was to kill him) that the messenger was Death himself and that he was writing his own Requiem.  The music certainly has a passion and fervour to support this. After his death Constanze, desperate not to forfeit the fee already paid for the work (only partially composed),  tried to persuade various colleagues and pupils to complete it. The Requiem was eventually finished by Mozart’s pupil Süssmayr, who had worked closely with the composer up until the time of his death.

About the concert and the performers
The recorded time of Mozart’s death, aged only 35, is a few minutes after 01:00 on 5 December 1791. The concert in the Stephansdom begins at midnight on 4 December, allowing the final bars to ring out an hour later, at the very moment Mozart died. The conductor for this event is Gerald Wirth, Artistic Director of the renowned Vienna Boys’ Choir since 2001 and a great champion of youth and amateur music-making. Our soloists are from the UK and are all familiar faces to TRBC regulars: Robyn Allegra Parton (soprano), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo-soprano), Guy Elliott (tenor) and Henry Neill (baritone).

More Mozart at Midnight links:   Home page  —  Details for singers.