Mozart: Unfinished Business

Last night my kids and I went to hear Mozart’s Requiem sung in concert at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.  My daughter’s friend performed in it, but honestly I think we would have gone anyway.  It was free, and we got much more than we paid for.

Yesterday – December 5 – was the 220th anniversary of Mozart’s death, and the concert was in his honor.  Mozart would be considered a tragic figure in my mind.  He died at the age of 35 under circumstances that seem stressful, laden with illness, and overwhelming at best.  Tragedy…sounds a bit like yesterday’s post.  Death…sounds like a lot of posts lately.  I am in a season of contemplation.  Blogging daily since August 1 has allowed my mind to dump, focus, and maybe even resolve.  There are layers and layers of dumping, focusing, and resolving to be done in this thing called life, and I figure I should get started on it now.

I could link to recordings of the Requiem, but I really think that it should be listened to in its entirety when one has time to listen, take in, and process the movements of the funeral mass.  The mass has 14 movements as follows (the conductor of the choir directed me to Wikipedia, so that is where I went:

  • I. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (choir and soprano solo)
  • II. Kyrie eleison (choir)
  • III. Sequentia (text based on sections of the Dies Irae):
    • Dies irae (choir)
    • Tuba mirum (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)
    • Rex tremendae majestatis (choir)
    • Recordare, Jesu pie (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo)
    • Confutatis maledictis (choir)
    • Lacrimosa dies illa (choir)
  • IV. Offertorium:
    • Domine Jesu Christe (choir with solo quartet)
    • Versus: Hostias et preces (choir)
  • V. Sanctus:
    • Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (choir)
    • Benedictus (solo quartet, then choir)
  • VI. Agnus Dei (choir)
  • VII. Communio:
    • Lux aeterna (soprano solo and choir)

Mozart only finished through the first eight bars of the Lacrimosa. Musicians were commissioned after his death to finish the work.  Mozart had unfinished business when he died.  He was in the middle of what I feel is the most amazing, beautiful, powerful, and mind-blowing piece of music ever written.  I could set my iPod on repeat and listen over and over and over again.  It touches my heart deep down inside and awakens feelings – sadness, joy, fears, and elation – that I forget are there.  Beautiful…and unfinished.

One of the tragic parts of death for those left to clean up is the unfinished [insert whatever applies here].  My parents owned a motel in Grand Forks, ND, during the time that my mom was sick and died.  She died on payroll morning; she had unfinished business.  As I cleaned out her “craft room” – which had Bibles, Bible studies, and assignments from started online college Bible classes in to the many craft items, I realized that my mom started a lot of things, and – although she finished quite a bit – she had left a lot unfinished.

I doubt that there is any way to avoid leaving unfinished business behind when we die, but it is good to think about what that business should be and – more importantly – what it should not be.  There are tasks I want to have completed before that day comes.  The problem is that the only way I can ensure that is to be sure I do them today.  This makes the list of critical business a high priority as well as short.

I want my children to know that I am proud of them because they are the best I could have ever imagined in children.  I want my husband to know that he is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I want my extended family to know that they are a priority.  And I want friends to know that I would drop anything for them if they were in need.  More than any of that, though, I want to have ended each day knowing that I all that I could to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not do that well every day, but there is always today.

At the concert last night, the choir only sang what is fully credited to Mozart.  They ended the Requiem eight bars into the Lacrimosa.  At that point, the room went silent for nearly thirty seconds – a moment of silence in honor of the great composer whose work was left on this earth unfinished.

Unfinished business is inevitable – what will it be?

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