Eric Paetkau, Music Director
Timothy Chooi, violin
Andrea Lett, soprano
Jardena Gertler-Jaffe, mezzo-soprano
Michael Harris, tenor
Daniel Thielmann, baritone
University of Saskatchewan Greystone Singers, Dr. Jennifer Lang
Saskatoon Symphony Chorus, Duff Warkentin
Heinz Moehn was a noted editor for the German publisher Barenreiter. He was best known for his editions of Mozart’s works including the great Requiem. And, while every major orchestra in the world has played his edition of the Requiem, none knew he was also a remarkable composer—until now.
Here in Saskatoon, Heinz Moehn’s grandson unearthed his grandfather’s compositions in a box of family heirlooms. The SSO collaborated with Saskatoon-based composer Paul Suchan to take Moehn’s hand-written score for his Violin Concerto and create parts for the SSO to perform—marking the first performance of the concerto in 80 years. We’ve called up rising-star Timothy Chooi to lend his artistry to this unveiling of a new, old concerto.
We’re pairing this debut of Moehn’s concerto with his edition of the beloved Mozart Requiem, featuring a thrilling cast of singers including the debuts of Prince Albert-born soprano Andrea Lett, Saskatoon’s own mezzo Jardena Gertler-Jaffe. They are joined by tenor Michael Harris and baritone Daniel Thielmann.
Wake the Grain – Paul Suchan*
Violin Concerto – Heinz Moehn
Requiem in d minor – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Philadelphia-based violinist, Timothy Chooi has been described as “le miracle” (Montreal Lapresse).
Regarded as one of the most promising and exciting young artists in the world today, he was recently the Bronze Medal Winner of the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, completed an extensive recital tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, performed with Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, recorded his debut album, and was featured at Ravinia Festival in Chicago. He is also a winner of the 2013 Vadim Repin International Scholarship, a recipient of the, Milka Violin Award from the Curtis Institute of Music, Sylva Gelber Award, Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank and was the Grand Prize Winner of the Montreal Symphony Manulife Competition.
Timothy continues to have an engaging role in the promotion of the arts and education for the youth in communities across Canada and the USA.
Timothy has performed with major orchestras across the world and highlights of past seasons include Timothy making his debut as Soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Orchestra of the Americas, to name a few, and his Carnegie Hall Debut. Timothy regularly appears with his brother, Nikki in the violin duo the Chooi Brothers where they perform theme-based programs which have proven to be successful across audiences around the world.
Timothy looks to expand the classical music audience by increasing its appeal to the young generation via all available social media platforms. In particular, his series of self made online videos in non-traditional locations is broadening the reach of classical music through videography. He is currently at the Master’s program at the Juilliard School, and had received his previously attended the Curtis Institute of Music. He previously studied with Pinchas Zukerman, Ida Kavafian, and Patinka Kopec.
Timothy gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, CBC Radio, the Sylva Gelber Foundation, and the Victoria Foundation. He also acknowledges the generous loan of his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Timothy currently resides in Philadelphia where he is an active member of Astral Artists. He has a huge passion and commitment to bringing classical music to communities across America, Canada and demographics around the world who may not have access to.
Violin Concerto – Moehn
The SSO’s performance of this work marks its re-premier – first heard over 80 years ago, Moehn’s own compositions fell into the background of his work as editor at Barenreiter publications. While are Barentreiter, Moehn was considered to be the leading editor of Mozart’s music, particularly noted for his edition of the Mozart Requiem.
Requiem – Mozart
At the time of Mozart’s death on December 5, 1791, only the first two movements, “Requiem aeternam” and “Kyrie”, were completed in all of the orchestral and vocal parts. The Sequence and Offertorium were completed in skeleton, with the exception of the Lacrymosa, which breaks off after the first eight bars. The vocal parts and continuo were fully notated. Occasionally, some of the prominent orchestral parts were briefly indicated, such as the first violin part of the Rex tremendae and Confutatis, the musical bridges in the Recordare, and the trombone solos of the Tuba Mirum.
What remained to be completed for these sections were mostly accompanimental figures, inner harmonies, and orchestral doublings to the vocal parts.
The eccentric count Franz von Walsegg commissioned the Requiem from Mozart anonymously through intermediaries. 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 Lacrymosa. 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. After 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. Süssmayr borrowed some of Eybler’s work in making his completion, and added his own orchestration to the movements from the Kyrie onward, completed the Lacrymosa, 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. Some people consider it unlikely, however, that Mozart would have repeated the opening two sections if he had survived to finish the work.
Other composers may have helped 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 (Sparrow Mass, K. 220) by Mozart, as was first pointed out by Richard Maunder. Others have pointed out that in the beginning of the Agnus Dei, the choral bass quotes the main theme from the Introitus. Many of the arguments dealing with this matter, though, center 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.
Another controversy is the suggestion (originating from a letter written by Constanze) that Mozart left explicit instructions for the completion of the Requiem on “a few scraps of paper with music on them… found on Mozart’s desk after his death.” The extent to which Süssmayr’s work may have been influenced by these “scraps” if they existed at all remains a subject of speculation amongst musicologists to this day.
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 left ambiguous 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 alternative completions provide logical and compelling solutions for the work.