Mozart's Last Requiem (1909) Short, Drama · 11 September 1909
In the opening scene we are taken to the music room in the Master's home, where he and his favorite student, Sussmayer, are at work with their music. Constance, Mozart's faithful wife, and little son are also introduced in this scene. The master musician has for some months been near to a serious illness. While he and his pupil are at work, a strange man in gray arrives with a message from some unknown party ordering a requiem for as early a date as possible, and asking the price at which the work will be held. Mozart is filled with a strange foreboding that his life is near its close and the order for a piece of funeral music comes to him as an omen of his own death. Overcome by the thought, he becomes lost in a vision of a funeral service within a cathedral. Recalling himself, he gives answer that he will deliver the music as requested. Following the departure of the messenger, the great musician is haunted by the idea that the requiem is his last work. The melancholy thoughts finally affect him to such an extent that he becomes very ill and a physician is called, who recommends perfect rest and by all means the abandonment of music for a time at least. Through all the illness Sussmayer remains with his teacher. During this time the sick man forever has the dream of the requiem upon his mind and feels that beyond hope his days are numbered and that he must hasten the production. The messenger comes again, bringing the money for the promised piece of music, and a message asking that the funeral song be hurried. The sombre bearer of this news spurs the composer to work beyond his strength, and for some time it is doubtful whether he will recover vitality enough to complete his work. However, he regains some strength and begs his companion and student to play for him upon the violin. As Sussmayer plays the music most dear to his friend, Mozart, the dying man moves calmly about, a gentle sadness seems to fill his soul, and he calls for his material and starts his last masterpiece of composition. A little work overcomes him, then as he listens to the strains of the violin visions come before him of scenes from his favorite operas. First he hears the magnificent strains and sees the excellent stage settings of the Cherubins' Romanza from the Marriage of Figaro. This is followed by the dashing scenes of the Serenade from Don Juan. The next vision is from the Magic Flute, the opera which had brought great wealth to the man for whom it was written. Now the composer's mind is filled with melodies for his last song and he shakes off his lethargy and feverishly applies himself to the task of recording the melodies that cross his mind. The work is almost finished when a deputation of musical men, scholars and celebrities arrive to inquire after his health. As they enter the composer requests them to take the different parts and sing them for him. He, himself, sings the alto part and as the last chord dies away in an artistic ecstasy, his life departs. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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