Mozart Requiem

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  • Artist Director / Choreographer : Philippe Saint-Paul
  • Number of Dancer : 6 dancers
  • Music : Requiem – Mozart
  • Partnership : Mahidol University Chamber Choir, Tien Ming Tang (Conductor) / Mahidol University Baroque Soloists and Choir & Mahidol University Baroque Orchestra, Henri Pompidor (Conductor) / Participation of singers from Chulalongkorn University Concert Choir. 
  • Photos Credits : Daryl David Apas

As death when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relationships with this best and truest friend of mankind that death’s image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but indeed very soothing and consoling and I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, letter to Leopold Mozart, 1787

The Requiem knows many enduring stories, all dealing with apparitions and messengers of death. The truth is more simple but as dramatic : in 1791, while Mozart was working on « The Magic flute », Count Walsegg, a nobleman who had just lost his young wife, commissioned him to write a requiem mass under the express condition that he would remain anonymous. Mozart started working on the mass, but his deteriorating health led him to believe that the messenger from the count was actually an emissary of death. He passed away on dec. 4th, 1791, creating forever a legend that the Requiem had effectively brought him to his death bed. A few days before, he had instructed his most trusted pupil, Franz Xaver Sussmayr (and not Salieri as it is often mentioned), with his ideas and instructions on the completion of the Requiem, and the completed work was first performed on January 2, 1793 at a benefit concert for Mozart’widow Constanza. Since then, it has gained tremendous recognition and has been performed at many prestigious occasions including the memorial services of Joseph Haydn, Frederic Chopin and John F. Kennedy.

Inevitably the secrecy surrounding the anonymous commission, the circumstances of Mozart’s death, the unfinished state of the work, and its completion by his copyist, have precipitated two centuries of romantic speculation and scholarly controversy. However, for that reason but also because it is such a masterpiece, few professional choirs tackle the task of performing it live. It is either performed as a baroque composition (which is not), or as a classical piece, but in truth it introduces the romantic area with force and inevitability.

Never surrending to the music, the dance actually bring a new dimension to this well known elegy to the divine in all of us. An ode to Joy, it takes us from the moment when the body has died and the soul reaches for heaven, in a true allegory of resurrection : death is defeated and it is time to rejoice. As the Requiem Starts, we witness the body of the deceases lying here, and angels are calling him to bring it back to life. It is Easter Sunday, and the pain is still there, stigmatas who had to be endured to pay the price of eternal life. Raising him to the dead, the angels and archangels will lift his soul till he is ready to join them in the heavens. Resurrection of the soul, resurrection of the body, this is the best expressed with dance, true combination of this two component of Man and the spiritual in all of us.

Henri Pompidor, Conductor and Philippe Saint Paul, Choreographer

 This performance of the Requiem will also be a dance event of great magnitude. Premiered in Florida in 1993, Philippe Saint-Paul’s Requiem has been a crowd pleaser since its creation. Tackling this masterpiece is no easy task for the choreographer and the dancers, bus Urban Bones Dance Company (UBDC) manages to rise the challenge.- Henri Ponpidor, Mahidol University