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Requiem (Mozart)

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The Requiem Mass in D minor ( K. 626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in 1791. The requiem was Mozart's last composition, and is one of his most powerful and recognized works, not only for its music, but also for the debate over how much of the music Mozart managed to complete before his death, and how much was later composed by his colleague Franz Xaver Süssmayr.

Despite debate about how much of the music was Mozart's, the Requiem has taken a prominent place as one of Mozart's most important works.


The Requiem is divided into fourteen movements, with the following structure:

  • Introitus (Requiem aeternam)
  • Kyrie
  • Sequence:
    • Dies irae
    • Tuba mirum
    • Rex tremendae
    • Recordare
    • Confutatis
    • Lacrimosa
  • Offertory:
    • Domine Jesu Christe
    • Hostias
  • Sanctus
  • Benedictus
  • Agnus Dei
  • Communion (Lux aeterna)


The Requiem is scored for 2 basset horns in F, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets in D, 3 trombones (alto, tenor & bass), timpani (2 drums), organ, and strings.

Composition and completion

The work is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists and choir, and a small classical orchestra comprising two basset horns (a type of alto {actually tenor} clarinet much favoured by Mozart throughout his career), two bassoons, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, violins, viola and basso continuo (cello, double bass and organ). At the time of Mozart's death on 5 December 1791 he had only completed the opening movement (Requiem aeternam) in all of the orchestral and vocal parts. The following Kyrie (a double fugue), and most of the Sequence (from Dies Irae to Confutatis), is complete only in the vocal parts and the continuo (the figured organ bass), though occasionally some of the prominent orchestral parts have been briefly indicated, such as the violin part of the Confutatis and the musical bridges in the Recordare. The last movement of the Sequence, the Lacrimosa, breaks off after only eight bars and was unfinished. The following two movements of the Offertorium were again partially done -- the Domine Jesu Christe in the vocal parts and continuo (up until the fugue, which contains some indications of the violin part) and the Hostias in the vocal parts only.

In the 1960s a sketch for an Amen fugue was discovered, which some musicologists (Levin, Maunder) believe belongs to the Requiem at the conclusion of the Sequence after the Lacrimosa. H.C. Robbins Landon argues that this Amen fugue was not intended for the Requiem, rather that it "may have been for a separate unfinished Mass in D minor" to which the Kyrie K341 also belonged. There is, however, compelling evidence placing the "Amen Fugue" in the Requiem based on current Mozart scholarship. Firstly, the principal subject is comprised of the main theme of the requiem (stated at the beginning, and throughout the work) in strict inversion. Secondly, it is found on the same page as a sketch for the Rex Tremendae (together with a sketch for the overture of his last opera The Magic Flute), and thus surely dates from late 1791. The only place where the word 'Amen' occurs in anything that Mozart wrote in late 1791 is in the Sequence of the Requiem. Thirdly, as Levin points out in the foreword to his completion of the Requiem, the addition of the Amen Fugue at the end of the Sequence results in an overall design that ends each large section with a fugue.

The eccentric count Franz von Walsegg commissioned the Requiem from Mozart anonymously through intermediaries acting on his behalf. The count, an amateur chamber musician who routinely commissioned works by composers and passed them off as his own, wanted a Requiem mass he could claim he composed to memorialize the recent passing of his wife. Mozart received only half of the payment in advance, so upon his death his widow Constanze was keen to have the work completed secretly by someone else, submit it to the count as having been completed by Mozart and collect the final payment. Joseph von Eybler was one of the first composers to be asked to complete the score, and had worked on the movements from the Dies irae up until the Lacrimosa. In addition, a striking similarity between the openings of the Domine Jesu Christe movements in the requiems of the two composers suggests that Eybler at least looked at later sections. Following this work, he felt unable to complete the remainder, and gave the manuscript back to Constanze Mozart.

The task was then given to another composer, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, who had already helped the ailing Mozart in writing the score, since in his final days the composer's limbs had become extremely swollen. Süssmayr borrowed some of Eybler's work in making his completion, and added his own orchestration to the movements from the Dies Irae onward (the Kyrie was orchestrated before either Süssmayr or Eybler began their work) , completed the Lacrimosa, and added several new movements which a Requiem would normally comprise: Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. He then added a final section, Lux aeterna by adapting the opening two movements which Mozart had written to the different words which finish the Requiem Mass, which according to both Süssmayr and Mozart's wife was done according to Mozart's directions. Whether or not that is true, some people consider it unlikely that Mozart would have repeated the opening two sections if he had survived to finish the work completely. However, the fact that the work ends with a recapitulation of the first movement creates a work which, overall, displays characteristics of sonata form, which may help to authenticate the idea for the repetition of the first movement as the final movement. As has often been stated, Mozart was not the only composer to do this, and many requiems written before his repeat the first movement as the last. (In regular Masses a similar practice existed where the last movement, the Agnus Dei, was indicated only by the words "ut Kyrie", "as the Kyrie".)

Other composers may have helped Süssmayr. The elder composer Maximilian Stadler is suspected of having completed the orchestration of the Domine Jesu for Süssmayr. The Agnus Dei is suspected by some scholars to have been based on instruction or sketches from Mozart because of its similarity to a section from the Gloria of a previous Mass (K.220) by Mozart, as was first pointed out by Richard Maunder. Many of the arguments dealing with this matter, though, centre on the perception that if part of the work is high quality, it must have been written by Mozart (or from sketches), and if part of the work contains errors and faults, it must have been all Süssmayr's doing. A frequent meta-debate is whether or not this is a fair way to judge the authorship of the parts of the work.

Another controversy is the suggestion that Mozart left explicit instructions for the completion of the Requiem on "little scraps of paper." It is commonly believed this claim was made by Constanza Mozart after it was public knowledge that the Requiem was actually completed by Süssmayr as a way to increase the impression of authenticity.

The completed score, initially by Mozart but largely finished by Süssmayr, was then dispatched to Count Walsegg complete with a counterfeited signature of Mozart and dated 1792. The various complete and incomplete manuscripts eventually turned up in the 19th century, but many of the figures involved did not leave unambiguous statements on record as to how they were involved in the affair. Despite the controversy over how much of the music is actually Mozart's, the commonly performed Süssmayr version has become widely accepted by the public. This acceptance is quite strong, even when alternate completions provide logical and compelling solutions for the work. A completion dating from 1819 by Sigismund Neukomm has recently been recorded under the baton of Jean-Claude Malgoire. Salzburg-born Neukomm, a student of Joseph Haydn, provided a concluding Libera me, Domine for a performance of the Requiem on the feast of St Cecilia in Rio de Janeiro at the behest of Nunes Garcia.

History of the Requiem (timeline)

  • February 14 1791: Anna, Count von Walsegg's wife, passed away at the age of 20.
  • mid-July: A messenger (probably Franz Anton Leitgeb, Count's steward) arrived with note asking Mozart to write a Requiem Mass.
  • mid-July: Commission from Domenico Guardasoni, Impresario of the Prague National Theatre to compose the opera, La clemenza di Tito, for the festivities surrounding the coronation on September 6 of Leopold II as King of Bohemia.
  • August: Mozart works mainly on La clemenza di Tito; completed by September 5.
  • August 25: Mozart leaves for Prague.
  • September 6: Mozart conducts premiere of La clemenza di Tito.
  • mid-September - September 28: Revision and completion of The Magic Flute.
  • September 30: Premiere of The Magic Flute.
  • October 7: Completed concerto in A for clarinet.
  • October 8 - Nov. 20: Mozart worked on the Requiem and a Cantata.
  • November 20: Confined to the bed due to his illness.
  • December 5: Mozart died shortly after midnight of acute rheumatic fever.
  • December 7: Burial in St. Marx Cemetery.
  • December 10: Requiem performed in St. Michael for a memorial for Mozart by the staff of the Theatre auf der Wieden.
  • early-March 1792: probably the time Süssmayer finished the Requiem.
  • January 2, 1793: Performance of Requiem for Constanze's benefit arranged by Gottfried van Swieten.
  • early December 1793: Requiem delivered to the Count.
  • December 14 1793: Requiem performed in the memory of the Count's wife in the church at Wiener-Neustadt.
  • February 14, 1794: Requiem performed again in Patronat Church at Maria-Schutz on Semmering
  • 1799: Breitkopf & Hartel published the Requiem.
  • 1825: Debates started over authorship of Requiem.
  • 1833: Eybler suffered stroke while conducting a performance of Mozart's Requiem. He died in 1846.

Modern completions

Since the 1970s several musicologists, dissatisfied with the traditional "Süssmayr" completion, have attempted alternative completions of the Requiem. These include Franz Beyer, Duncan Druce, C. Richard F. Maunder, H.C. Robbins Landon, and Robert D. Levin. Each version follows a distinct methodology for completion; for example, the Beyer edition makes revisions to Süssmayr's orchestration in an attempt to create a more Mozartean style, whereas Robbins Landon has chosen to orchestrate parts of the completion using the partial work by Eybler, thinking that Eybler's work is a more reliable guide of Mozart's intentions. Maunder's edition dispenses completely with the parts known to be written by Süssmayr, but retains the Agnus Dei after discovering an extensive paraphrase from an earlier Mass (Kv.220). Levin's version retains the structure of Süssmayr while adjusting orchestration, voice leading and in some cases rewriting entire sections in an effort to make the work more Mozartean. For example, in the Levin version, the Sanctus fugue is completely rewritten and reproprortioned and the Benedictus is restructured to allow for a reprise of the Sanctus fugue in the key of D (rather than Süssmayr's use of B flat).

Both Maunder and Levin use the sketch for the Amen fugue discovered in the 1960s to compose a longer and more substantial setting to the words "Amen" at the end of the Sequence. In the Süssmayr version, "Amen" is set to the last two chords of the Lacrimosa. Maunder and Levin recompose the ending of the Lacrimosa to lead to an entire movement with "Amen" as the text. Other authors have also attempted the completion.

Myths surrounding the Requiem

The Requiem has a complex history, riddled with deception and manipulation of public opinion. The work was commissioned by a count who wanted to pass off the work as his own, so the circumstances of the commission were kept secret. Upon Mozart's death, Constanze had the work completed by other composers, but to receive final payment, their assistance had to remain a secret. At the same time, Constanze wanted to present the work as having been written by Mozart to completion, so as to receive revenue from the work. When it became known that others beside Mozart had a hand in writing the Requiem, Constanze insisted that Mozart left explicit instructions for the work's completion.

With all of these levels of deceptions and secrets, it is inevitable that many myths would emerge with respect to the circumstances of the work's completion. One series of myths surrounding the Requiem involves the role Antonio Salieri played in the commissioning and completion of the Requiem and in Mozart's death generally. While the most recent retelling of this myth is Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus and the movie made from it, it is important to note that the source of misinformation was actually a 19th century play by Alexander Pushkin, Mozart and Salieri, which was turned into an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov and subsequently used as the framework for Amadeus.

While Amadeus was never intended to be historically accurate, many people have taken it as fact, reawakening the myth started in the 19th century. The following explores myths surrounding the Requiem.

Some of the most commonly held myths about Mozart's Requiem are:

  • Myth: Antonio Salieri commissioned the Requiem from Mozart so it could be played at Mozart's own funeral after Salieri poisoned the composer.
    • Reality: The Requiem was actually commissioned by Franz von Walsegg so he could pass it off as his own to memorialize the death of his wife. Count von Walsegg, an amateur musician, often commissioned works by composers and performed them with friends in musicales as his own. The count took the extra step of using a messenger to take extra precautions to maintain confidentiality, given that this event was much more public than the private musicales that he was accustomed to using for representing "his" works.
  • Myth: Antonio Salieri helped to complete the Requiem on the deathbed of Mozart.
    • Reality: At Mozart's death, Constanze took on the responsibility of the Requiem, engaging a series of composers to attempt the completion, the last of which was Süssmayer. There is nothing to suggest that Salieri had anything to do with any part of the Requiem. This myth was incorporated into Pushkin's play, and in turn, the film version of "Amadeus".
  • Myth: Mozart actively worked on the Requiem up to the moment he died.
    • Reality: In the last days of his life he had become too sick (his hands were swollen) to work on it any more. He did have the Requiem (as far as it went) sung to him on one of his last days (reportedly the Lacrimosa moved him to tears), and there is a report of him trying to voice drum parts at the very end of his life, but the notion of Mozart working through the night just before he died is not accurate.
  • Myth: It was played at Mozart's funeral.
    • Reality: Mozart died in the early hours of December 5 1791, had a small funeral and was buried in an unmarked grave. A memorial service on December 10 1791 was organized by Mozart's friend and librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder, at which one of the completed movements (the Introitus) might have been performed; we do not know what music was in fact played.
  • Myth: Everything after the Lacrimosa was composed by Süssmayr.
    • Reality: Although the Lacrimosa breaks off incomplete after 8 bars, as noted above, the vocal and continuo of the Domine Jesu and the vocal parts of the Hostias are in Mozart's hand. The complexity of the Domine Jesu, with its frequent use of counterpoint and three fugues, would be very unlikely as the work of Süssmayr, given the nature of the Hosanna fugue which he did compose.
  • Myth: Mozart gave Süssmayr detailed instructions on how to complete the Requiem.
    • Reality: This myth was started by Constanze when the fact that Mozart left the Requiem unfinished at his death became public knowledge. To maximize the value of the Requiem, and improve Constanze's security, the public had to believe that Mozart somehow guided the entire work. Exactly what Mozart might have told Süssmayr about the Requiem is not clear. Both Constanze and Süssmayr created the myth of Mozart leaving "scraps of paper" with "detailed instructions", but it was ultimately discovered that it was true. She and Süssmayr stated that they were on other "scraps of paper", but it was discovered that the remainder of the Requiem was sketched out on blank manuscript.
  • Myth: Süssmayr was Mozart's pupil.
    • Reality: As with the "scraps of paper", Constanze promoted Süssmayr as a pupil of Mozart to maximize the perceived value of the Requiem after it became known that Mozart left the Requiem unfinished at his death. Süssmayr was more of a colleague and friend to the Mozarts and even accompanied Constanze on her spa trips in 1791. Süssmayr did not study with Mozart. There is discussion in some of the sources cited in this article of the possibility that Süssmayr was actually having an affair with Constanze, and that Constanze's initial reluctance to engage Süssmayr to complete the Requiem upon Wolfgang's death was due to a "lover's quarrel".
  • Myth: The movie "Amadeus" created all of the confusion surrounding the history of the Requiem
    • Reality: The confusion between myth and reality regarding the events surrounding the commission, composition, completion and release of the Requiem stem from much earlier than the theatre and movie production of Amadeus. First of all, Amadeus in both its movie and play forms, was based on Alexander Pushkin's play The Little Tragedy of Mozart and Salieri, which contained many of the fallacies that were ultimately passed on in Amadeus.

Early biographers

Much of what is known today about Mozart comes either directly from correspondences about him, to him, and from him, or indirectly from biographers who gathered information from interviews with people close to him, such as his wife, Constanze, his works, and material from people who have come in contact with Mozart. The following is a brief summary of the early biographers who have tried to tell the story of Mozart's life.

1. Friedrich Schlichtegroll was a teacher and a scholar who published Mozart's obituary in 1793. The obituary was part of a volume of obituaries referred to as Nekrolog. The two had never met. Most of the information was obtained from Nannerl, Mozart's sister, and Johann Andreas Schachtner, a friend of the family in Mozart's early years. Therefore what Schlichtegroll knew and wrote about was the period before Vienna.

2. Franz Xaver Niemetschek was a citizen of Prague, a teacher and writer. Niemetschek allegedly met with Mozart and claimed to have been acquainted with Mozart's friends in Prague. After Mozart's death, Constanze sent Carl, the elder son, to live with him from 1792-97. Through these relationships with the family, Niemetschek gathered the information needed to write a biography of Mozart. His main source was Constanze and Mozart's friends in Prague. Therefore his emphasis was on Mozart's years in Vienna and his many trips to Prague. Based on research by Austrian scholar Walther Brauneis, much doubt has recently been cast on the veracity of Niemetschek's claim that he actually made Mozart's personal acquaintance.

3. Friedrich Rochlitz was the editor of Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitwig (AMZ), a journal published by Breitkopf & Hartel. Constanze had sent Rochlitz some ancedotes to publish. At first she wanted him to do a biography but after meeting Nissen, she gave Nissen the opportunity instead. Most people believed that Rochlitz is an unreliable source.

4. I.T.F.C. Arnold, a novelist, wrote Mozart's Geist, published in 1803. He took most of the biography directly from the three sources already published. He did add some new information.

5. In 1828, Nissen published a biography of Mozart which included an appendix written by Constanze and J.H. Fewerstein after Nissen's death in 1826. Much of this biography included what had been previously written by Schlichtegroll, Niemetschek, and Rochlitz. In The Mozart's Myths, Stafford writes: "Sometimes Nissen corrects the chunks he borrows, and occasionally he tells the reader that he has done this ... unfortunately, he does not always correct and revise in this way. Assembling his narrative with scissors and paste, he allows contradictions to creep in." Nissen, knowing that it was untrue, wrote that the unfinished Requiem was taken by the messenger immediately after Mozart's death.

6. Vincent and Mary Novello's diary of their interviews during 1829 with Nannerl, Constanze, and Mozart's sister in law, was discovered and published in 1955. They were collecting this information in hopes of publishing a book, which never happened. Since almost forty years had gone by since Mozart's death, then these accounts might have been based more on already published biographies than on the participants' own memories.

Constanze Mozart and the Requiem after Mozart's death

The confusion surrounding the circumstances of the Requiem's composition was created in a large part by Mozart's wife, Constanze. Constanze had a difficult task in front of her. She had to keep secret the fact that the Requiem was unfinished at Mozart's death, so she could collect the final payment from the commission. For a period of time, she also needed to keep secret the fact that Mozart had anything to do with the composition of the Requiem at all in order to allow Count Walsegg the impression that he wrote the work. Once she received the commission, she needed to carefully promote the work as Mozart's so she could continue to receive revenue from the work's publication and performance. During this phase of the Requiem's history, it was still important that the public accepted that Mozart wrote the whole piece, as it would fetch larger sums from publishers and the public if it were completely by Mozart.

It is Constanze's efforts that created the flurry of half-truths and myths almost instantly after Mozart's death. Source materials written soon after Mozart’s death contain serious discrepancies which leave a level of subjectivity when assembling the "facts" about Mozart’s composition of the Requiem. For example, at least three of conflicting sources, both dated within two decades following Mozart’s death, cite Constanze Mozart (Mozart’s wife) as their primary source of interview information. In 1798, Friedrich Rochlitz, the German biographical author and amateur composer, published a set of Mozart anecdotes which he claimed to have collected during his meeting with Constanze in 1796. The Rochlitz publication makes the following statements:

  • Mozart was unaware of his commissioner’s identity at the time he accepted the project.
  • He was not bound to any date of completion of the work
  • He stated that it would take him around four weeks to complete.
  • He requested, and received, 100 ducats at the time of the first commissioning message.
  • He began the project immediately after receiving the commission.
  • His health was poor from the outset; he fainted multiple times while working
  • He took a break from writing the work to visit the Prater with his wife.
  • He shared with his wife that for certain he was writing this piece for his own funeral.
  • He spoke of "very strange thoughts" regarding the unpredicted appearance and commission of this unknown man.
  • He noted that the departure of Leopold to Prague for the coronation was approaching.

The most highly disputed of these claims is the last one, the chronology of this setting. According to Rochlitz, the messenger arrives quite some time before the departure of Leopold for the coronation, yet we have record of his departure occurring in mid-July 1791. However, Constanze was in Baden during all of June to mid-July, she would not have been present for the commission or the drive they were said to have taken together. Furthermore, The Magic Flute (except for the Overture and March of the Priests) was completed by mid-July. La Clemenza Di Tito was commissioned by mid-July. There was no time for Mozart to work on the Requiem on the large scale indicated by the Rochlitz publication in the time frame provided.

Also in 1798, Constanze is noted to have given another interview to Franz Xaver Niemetschek, another biographer looking to publish a compendium of Mozart's life. He published his biography in 1808, containing the following claims about Mozart’s receipt of the Requiem commission:

  • Mozart received the commission very shortly before the Coronation of Emperor Leopold II, and before he received the commission to go to Prague.
  • He did not accept the messenger’s request immediately; he wrote the commissioner and agreed to the project stating his fee, but urging that he could not predict the time required to complete the work.
  • The same messenger appeared later, paying Mozart the sum requested plus a note promising a bonus at the work’s completion.
  • He started composing the work upon his return from Prague.
  • He fell ill while writing the work
  • He told Constanze "I am only too conscious," he continued, "my end will not be long in coming: for sure, someone has poisoned me! I cannot rid my mind of this thought."
  • Constanze thought that the Requiem was overstraining him; she called the doctor and took away the score.
  • On the day of his death he had the score brought to his bed.
  • The messenger took the unfinished Requiem soon after Mozart’s death.
  • Constanze never learned the commissioner’s name.

This account, too, has fallen under scrutiny and criticism for its accuracy. According to letters, Constanze most certainly knew the name of the commissioner by the time this interview was released in 1800. Additionally, the Requiem was not given to the messenger until some time after Mozart’s death. This interview contains the only account of the claim that Constanze took the Requiem away from Wolfgang for a significant duration during his composition of it from Constanze herself. Otherwise, the timeline provided in this account is historically probable. However, the most highly accepted text attributed to Constanze is the interview to her second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen. After Nissen’s death in 1826, Constanze released the biography of Wolfgang (1828) that Nissen had compiled, which included this interview. Nissen states:

  • Mozart received the commission shortly before the coronation of Emperor Leopold and before he received the commission to go to Prague.
  • He did not accept the messenger’s request immediately; he wrote the commissioner and agreed to the project stating his fee, but urging that he could not predict the time required to complete the work.
  • The same messenger appeared later, paying Mozart the sum requested plus a note promising a bonus at the work’s completion.
  • He started composing the work upon his return from Prague.

The Nissen publication lacks information following Mozart’s return from Prague.

From the various accounts of Constanze’s words, historians try to assemble the details of Mozart’s “Requiem” commission and completion.

The autograph at the 1958 World's Fair

The autograph of the Requiem was placed on display at the World's Fair in 1958 in Brussels. At some point during the fair, someone was able to gain access to the manuscript, tearing off the bottom right-hand corner of the second to last page (folio 99r/45r), containing the words "Quam olim d: C:" (an instruction that the "Quam olim" fugue of the Domine Jesu was to be repeated "da capo", at the end of the Hostias). To this day the perpetrator has not been identified and the fragment has not been recovered.

If the most common authorship theory is true, then "Quam olim d: C:" might very well be the last words Mozart wrote before he died. It is probable that whoever stole the fragment believed that to be the case.


Selected recordings, alphabetically by conductor:

  • Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded live in 1999 and released in 1999 by Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Daniel Barenboim conducting the Paris Symphony Orchestra and Paris Symphony Chorus. Released in 1990 by EMI Classics. Soloists are Kathleen Battle (Soprano), Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano), David Rendall (Tenor), Matti Salminen (Bass).
  • Frieder Bernius conducting the Stuttgart Baroque Ensemble. Recorded in 2000 and released in 2002 by Carus-verlag.
  • Leonard Bernstein conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1986 and released in 1989 by Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Karl Böhm conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1971 and released in 1983 by Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Sergiu Celibidache conducting the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded live in 1995 and released in 2004 by EMI Classics
  • John Eliot Gardiner conducting the English Baroque Soloists. Released in 1990 by Philips.
  • Gregory Glenn conducting the boys and girls choir of The Madeleine Choir school with symphony in The Cathedral of the Madeleine.
  • Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus(London). Released in 1979 by Angel.
  • Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Concentus Musicus. Recorded in 2003 and released in 2004 by Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.
  • Philippe Herreweghe conducting the Orchestre des Champs Elysees. Recorded live in 1994 and released in 1997 by Harmonia Mundi.
  • Christopher Hogwood conducting the Academy of Ancient Music Chorus & Orchestra, and Westminster Cathedral Boys Choir. Recorded in 1983 and released in 1984 by Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre.
  • Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker. Recorded in 1975 on September 27 and 28 and released on Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Ton Koopman conducting the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Recorded live in 1989 and released in 1990 by Erato-Disques.
  • Zdenek Kosler conducting the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1985 and released in 1986 by OPUS.
  • Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Recorded in 1990 and released in 1991 by Philips.
  • Riccardo Muti conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1987 and released in 1987 by EMI Classics. Awarded a "Timbre de Platine".
  • Roger Norrington conducting The London Classical Players & The Schutz Choir of London. Recorded in 1992 by Emi Records for Virgin Classics Limited.
  • Martin Pearlman conducting the Boston Baroque. Recorded in 1995 and released on Telarc Records. This was the first period-instrument recording of the Robert D. Levine completion.
  • Peter Schreier conducting the Dresden State Orchestra. Recorded in 1987 and released in 1990 by Philips.
  • Mikhail "Misha" Shtangrud conducted the Burbank Chorale and a twenty-two piece orchestra on a 2006 recording released by the Burbank Chorale.
  • Helmuth Rilling conducting the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. Released in 1979/1987 by CBS Schallplatten GmbH/CBS Records. Rilling later re-recorded the Requiem with the completion by Robert D. Levin in 1991 for Hanssler Classic.
  • Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1986 and released in 1990 by Telarc.
  • Sir Georg Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1991 and released in 1992 by Decca.
  • Christian Thielemann conducting the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded and released in 2006 by Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Jos van Veldhoven conducting The Netherlands Bach Society. Recorded live in 2001 and released in 2002 by Channel Classics.
  • Bruno Walter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1937. First 20th-century recording.
  • Bruno Walter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded live in 1956 and released in 1996 by Orfeo.
  • Franz Welser-Möst conducting the London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra. Recorded in 1989 and released in 1990 by EMI Classics.
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