Miloš Forman's great film, Amadeus, ends, as Mozart's life did, with the strains of his final composition, has great Requiem Mass. A celebration and a shout out to life, love and loss, and a vibrant, exuberant cornucopia of musical wonders.
The Mozart Requiem - at times stately, at times scary, at times sublime, but always inspiring and deeply human - has been for me a wonderful part of my life.
When I was young, singing was a hugely important part of my life. I toured, won prizes, sang in professional productions, at the National Eisteddfod, around Europe, and on stage in front of all my peers, and music filled my days. But like many young boys, when my voice broke, my school had no idea what to do with me. And so, for over a year, music was taken away. And I felt bereft.
To lose such an important part of what made me 'me' was heartbreaking, and I spent a very grey year, wondering where to go next.
And then the wonderful day came when I discovered I could once again sing. I remember the day when I walked back into the music department to see whether I could join the choir. A small group were practising for Christmas, and we sang Sweelink's joyful 'Hodie Christus Natus Est' - and I felt remade.
That year the choir was preparing for a major performance of Mozart's Requiem - something I'd never sung before. Trying to handle my new voice, singing in a tenor stave, not knowing where my voice went, or how to produce a good sound - I almost gave up. But then the choir went for a weekend to work on the Requiem. A whole weekend of singing, of learning together, of working out the corners of this amazing piece of music. And I fell in love with the Requiem.
And so I am very grateful to Wolfgang Amadeus for all the amazing music he has left us - the world a far richer place for his operas, his choral works, his reinvention of how instruments and voices can play together. But most of all for his final gift to us - Mozart's Requiem.
Please come and join Northwood Choral Society as we celebrate this work on the 21st March. I look forward to sharing my love of it with you all.