Jean-Claude Malgoire invites us to confront two of the most iconic works of the 18th century, Gilles’s Requiem, a masterpiece of French classicism (1705) and Mozart’s imbued with pre-romanticism (1791).
Jean Gilles’s Messe des Morts was the most famous of all French Requiems and was performed all along the 18th century. The original version was played for Gilles’s own funeral (1705), for Campra’s (1744), Royer’s (1756), Rameau’s (1764), King Stanislaw Leszczynski’s (1766) and Louis XV’s.
An unfinished masterpiece, a musical testament, a timeless sacred composition going beyond liturgical boundaries, superlatives abound about Mozart’s Requiem. When he died on 5 December, 1791, the composer had entirely finished the Requiem and the Kyrie and defined most of the next five numbers, from Dies Irae to Confutatis. This work has since then aroused thousands of hypotheses, numerous versions of the unfinished pages, and above all splendid interpretations: it is magnetic for both audience and interpreters, and finally imposes itself almost completely in the form left by Mozart, as if these last notes of the dying composer were all the more precious…
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Jean Gilles (1668-1705)