A puzzle which has finally been pieced together
It is a tragedy. So many incredible musicians have not completed their masterpieces. Examples such as the Great Mass in C-minor by Mozart, Schubert’s never finished symphony or the opera “Moses und Aron” by Schönberg show that many great musicians have not completed their great works. Sadly, Leoncavallo is one of them. A great musician who has not completed his masterpiece.
It is assumed that Leoncavallo has been assigned to compose a musical work for the obsequies of the Italian King Umberto I who died in a tragic assassination in 1900. The evidence that Leoncavallo agreed on composing the piece are his partly complete sketches, primarily his Introitus “Requiem aeternam”, the Benedictus and the sequence “dies irae”. Why the musical work has never been finished remains a mystery. But one fact is certain however: some of his older musical works are inspired or even reused parts of the Requiem and vice versa.
Jozsef Acs realized that the introductory bars of the “Dies irae” which have been passed down by handwritten sketches are continued in his last finished opera “Edipo re” (1919). This realization caused Jozsef Acs to start recomposing Leoncavallo’s Requiem. He skillfully connected the dots and the result is an extraordinary piece of work. Jozsef Acs altered and added a few parts in order to connect the different musical sections with each other and, consequently, created a connection.
Jozsef Acs is proud to have immortalize a musical piece of Leoncavallo which would have gotten lost in oblivion otherwise.