Requiem, K. 626 (Levin completion) is Mozart’s final work, left uncompleted at his death in 1791. He’d had a rough year and had been quite ill for some months. His wife, Constanze, said in her memoirs that a mysterious stranger dressed all in gray commissioned the work, and that Mozart came to believe he was writing the Requiem for his own funeral.
It is full of a deep sadness and tragic rage that we rarely hear from him, and is one of his most personal and heartfelt works. It was completed just after his death by one of his students, in a very inauthentic and slipshod way.
That version was the standard for hundreds of years. But quite recently, the American Mozart scholar Robert Levin made a new completion that follows Mozart’s style and proportions uncannily well. It is as if we are hearing Mozart’s profound final work for the first time!