Collaboration Cubed

The Santa Barbara Symphony and State Street Ballet kick off their 2017-18 seasons by collaborating on Mozart’s Requiem Mass, marking their 4th time performing together. The strange history of this important and beautiful work makes a good jumping off point for this story about collaborations. It was commissioned in 1791 by Count von Walsegg, who wished to remain anonymous to Mozart and planned to pass it off as his own composition in honor of the death of his wife. Mozart had only received half the commission before he began work on it, but he died before completing it, so his widow Constanze hatched a plan to have the work secretly finished by another composer, claim it was all Wolfgang’s, and collect the second installment of the fee. Two composers contributed to the version of the piece that Constanze passed off as her husband’s, most of the writing done by Mozart’s student Franz Süssmayr. Since then there have been some 16 other versions – “completions” of Mozart’s unfinished manuscript and revisions of the composition Walsegg received. Mozart’s health was rapidly deteriorating while writing it and he confided to his wife that he considered it to be a requiem for himself. He died without knowing who had commissioned the work. So, we have a grand piece of music by an iconic classical composer which was actually a post-mortem collaboration and is now again being re-imagined by New York choreographer William Soleau as a ballet. It will be performed as a collaborative effort by two of Santa Barbara’s best known performing arts companies, and all will unfold this weekend on the stage of the Granada Theatre. Opening the program will be Mozart’s  1788 “Jupiter” Symphony, a grand work that was all written by the man himself. PS – I’ve gotten a bit behind posting, so there will be a bunch of photos and video coming soon!