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Rocking Requiem

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem is one of those few works that allow us to see into eternity, to take comfort in the assurance that there is something out there bigger than we are. Because Mozart died before he had quite finished the piece, controversy continues to surround it, as scholars debate what, exactly, the composer had in mind for its completion.

An interesting new take on the Requiem comes to us thanks to the scholarship of Robert Levin, a pianist who takes a Sherlock Holmes-like approach to reconstructing fragmented works of Mozart. Released in 1991, Levin's version of the Requiem has gained a lot of popularity among musicians. The subtle adjustments in the new score lighten the orchestration somewhat, and also make the work -- which was completed after Mozart's death by his student Franz Xavier Sussmayr -- more cohesive.

Levin's version of Mozart's Requiem will receive what promises to be an impassioned performance Sunday in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The Holy Trinity Concert Choir, directed by James Bigham, will be accompanied by the esteemed Western New York Chamber Orchestra, led by Artistic Director Glen Cortese. Cortese, who is in his first year with the orchestra, recently conducted another timeless masterpiece, Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde," for Titanic Records. For 16 years, he was the director of orchestras for the Manhattan School of Music.

The concert takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. For information, call 886-2400.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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