Franz Xaver Süssmayr
was an Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...
, now famous for his completion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...
The Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer's death. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the...
He was born in Schwanenstadt
Schwanenstadt is a town in the district of Vöcklabruck in Upper Austria, Austria....
, Upper Austria
Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg...
, the son of a sacristan
A sacristan is an officer who is charged with the care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents.In ancient times many duties of the sacristan were performed by the doorkeepers , later by the treasurers and mansionarii...
and teacher (who spelled the name Seissmayr
, reflecting the Austrian pronunciation
Austrian German , or Austrian Standard German, is the national standard variety of the German language spoken in Austria and in the autonomous Province of South Tyrol...
). His mother died when he was 6, and he left home at 13. He was a student and cantor
A cantor is the chief singer employed in a church with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir; also called the precentor....
in a Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...
monastery (from 1779 to 1787) in Kremsmünster. When his voice changed, he became a member of the orchestra as a violinist.
The abbey performed operas and Singspiele
, so he had the opportunity to study the operas of Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years...
and Antonio Salieri
Antonio Salieri was a Venetian classical composer, conductor and teacher born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, but who spent his adult life and career as a faithful subject of the Habsburg monarchy....
. He composed a number of stage works and a good deal of church music for the abbey.
Association with Mozart
He became (after 1787) a student of Salieri in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...
. In 1791 he assisted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a copyist with La clemenza di Tito
La clemenza di Tito , K. 621, is an opera seria in two acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Caterino Mazzolà, after Metastasio...
and Die Zauberflöte
and is presumed to have written the secco recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...
s in the first. Their relationship was close and playful, to judge by surviving letters to Constanze, whom Süssmayr accompanied to Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....
For many years he was also thought to have been a student of Mozart, but there is reason to think that the notion of such a relationship was concocted by Mozart's wife Constanze
Constanze Mozart was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Early years:Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father Fridolin Weber worked as a "double bass player, prompter and music copyist." Fridolin's half-brother was the father of composer...
in order to legitimise his completion of Mozart's Requiem
. During Mozart's last days, it is possible that they discussed his Requiem, and Süssmayr took on the task of completing the piece upon his death and did so, turning it over to Constanze within 100 days of Mozart's death. Süssmayr's version of the score is still the most often played, although several alternative versions have been written.
Süssmayr also composed a rondo
Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also to a character-type that is distinct from the form...
for Horn based on a draft composed in 1791 by Mozart. A comparison between Mozart's draft and Süssmayr's version reveals that Süssmayr used very little of Mozart's material. Süssmayr's rondo also makes use of a plainchant melody, and one explanation of this is that the melody was copied out by Mozart while he was composing the Requiem, which Süssmayr later mistook as material for the rondo. It was included in a piece assembled as Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, K. 412/386b was written in 1791. The work is in two movements:*I. Allegro*II. Rondo 6/8This is one of two horn concerti of Mozart to include bassoons Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, K. 412/386b was written in 1791....
In 1792 he also became the vice-director and composer at the Kärntnertortheater. On commission for Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...
, he composed an unsuccessful opera, Moses oder der Auszug aus Ägypten
, which premiered May 4, 1792. He was more successful with Der Spiegel von Arkadien
, which played across Europe in 1794, also in a Schikaneder production. This success led to his appointment as Kapellmeister
Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making. The word is a compound, consisting of the roots Kapelle and Meister . The words Kapelle and Meister derive from the Latin: capella and magister...
at the National Theater
The Burgtheater , originally known as K.K. Theater an der Burg, then until 1918 as the K.K. Hofburgtheater, is the Austrian National Theatre in Vienna and one of the most important German language theatres in the world.The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as "die Burg" by the...
in charge of German opera
A Singspiel is a form of German-language music drama, now regarded as a genre of opera...
From this time until 1800, he was very successful and popular on the Viennese music scene. However, after that time, his declining health due to tuberculosis led to decline in his career. He had to beg the theater director to stage his last work, List und Zufall
His marriage plans came to nothing because of his premature death, which occurred in Vienna in 1803. Like Mozart he was buried in an unmarked grave in the St. Marx cemetery
St. Marx Cemetery is a cemetery in the Landstraße district of Vienna, used from 1784 until 1874. It was named after a nearby almshouse.-History:...
His works include the following:
- Two masses
- Two requiems
- Seven offertories
- A gradual
- A magnificat
- Nicht mehr als sechs Schüsseln
- Moses oder der Auszug aus Ägypten
- Der Spiegel von Arkadien
- List und Zufall
Of special note may be the clarinet concerto
A clarinet concerto is a piece for clarinet and orchestra . Albert Rice has identified a work by Giuseppe Antonio Paganelli as possibly the earliest known concerto for solo clarinet; its score appears to be titled "Concerto per Clareto" and may date from 1733. It may, however, be intended for...
he most probably wrote for Mozart's clarinetist Anton Stadler
Anton Stadler was an Austrian clarinet and basset horn player for whom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote both his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Clarinet Concerto....
, because it was scored for the basset clarinet
The basset clarinet is a clarinet, similar to the usual soprano clarinet but longer and with additional keys to enable playing several additional lower notes...
. Recordings of the work by Dieter Klöcker
Dieter Klöcker was a German clarinetist known for rediscovering many forgotten masters of the 18th century...
Novalis was the pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg , an author and philosopher of early German Romanticism.-Biography:...
) on "normal clarinet" and by Thea King
Dame Thea King DBE FRCM FGSM was a British clarinettist.Thea King was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, the daughter of Henry Walter Mayer King, the manager of a family engineering business, George. W. King Ltd., based in Hitchin then Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and his wife, Dorothea...
Hyperion Records is an independent British classical record label.-History:The company was named after Hyperion, one of the Titans of Greek mythology. It was founded by George Edward Perry, widely known as "Ted", in 1980. Early LP releases included rarely recorded 20th century British music by...
) in a reconstructed version for basset clarinet by Michael Freyhan are available.
- Freyhan, Michael: "Towards the Original Text of Mozart's Die Zauberflote" in The Journal of the American Musicological Society Summer 1986 #2, pp. 355-380
- Freyhan, Michael: "Rediscovery of the 18th Century Scores and Parts of 'Die Zauberflote' showing the Text Used at the Hamburg Premiere in 1793" in Mozart Jahrbuch 1997, pp. 109-149
- Lorenz, Michael: "Süßmayr und die Lichterputzer. Von gefundenen und erfundenen Quellen", in Mozart Jahrbuch 2006