Many have tried to finish Mozart’s monumental, uncompleted Requiem, writes Andrew Druckenbrod in Saturday’s (12/5) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Last night at Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra music director Manfred Honeck brought his different approach. Like an architect who turns conventional wisdom on its head, Honeck sought to ‘complete’ the spirit of the Requiem, by surrounding the fragment with music and texts on the subject of death. The program of Honeck’s ‘Requiem: Mozart and Death in Music and Words’ slightly resembled the outline of a funeral mass with bells, chant and biblical readings, but Honeck was going for an ‘impression’ of death’s meaning both to Mozart (in tender letter to his father) and to us (in poems about the Holocaust by Nelly Sachs and local student Matt May). Actor John Lithgow, whose recent role as a serial killer in the TV thriller ‘Dexter’ added another layer of death symbolism, narrated with flawless enunciation, and trombone player James Nova played the Tuba mirum solo from the balcony to represent the voice of God. … The PSO responded to Honeck’s keen dramatic treatment of the score, including his view of the Introitus as someone weeping rather than a death march.”

Posted December 8, 2009