The last year of Mozart's life (1791) was one of feverish activity. Among other compositions, he completed two operas and started a requiem, which was left incomplete at the time of his death.

The Roman Catholic Requiem Mass is intended to commemorate the dead. Mozart's setting, for orchestra, chorus and soloists, is the most famous, though only a small part of the score was actually written down by him before he died. The work was completed by his student Franz Sussmayr, with reference to Mozart's surviving notes and instructions. Mozart received the original commission from the patron Count Franz Walsegg-Stuppach who wanted to commemorate the death of his wife. The Count tried, unsuccessfully, to pass the work off as his own composition. Mozart fell seriously ill while writing the piece and was haunted by the idea that he was in fact writing his own Requiem.

This example, Requiem aeternam, is the opening section of the Requiem and illustrates the procession or approach to the altar.

Because this haunting, beautiful music is the last thing Mozart composed, the Latin phrase used in the work: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine (Grant them eternal rest, O Lord), becomes much more poignant.

You must be able to answer the following questions:
How does this work differ from the earlier music composed by Mozart?

Is this piece written in Major or minor mode?

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