[FOUNTAIN]Final sounds of peace

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[FOUNTAIN]Final sounds of peace

What draws people the world over to Mozart's "Requiem?" Music lovers shed tears over melodies that are reminiscent of the ones they love, the ones they yearn for and the ones that simply fade away. They mourn the passage of time. The ode to autumn only adds to our painful memories.

Mozart's "Requiem" was heard during the memorial services in more than 100 countries around the world to remember the victims lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The chord was first played on the eastern shores of New Zealand where the sun rises earliest, relayed through the crisp glaciers to the research stations on the Antarctic, received on the streets of London, Paris and Afghanistan's Kabul and finally delivered to the epicenters of sorrow in New York and Washington D.C. The gloomy charm of Mozart's music sank deep in the sore hearts of people around the world through the chorus of ordinary citizens and the tunes of military marching bands.

Many listeners of the "Requiem" at Ground Zero, the site of the fallen towers of the World Trade Center, felt an indescribable sense of sorrow and awe. Televised scenes of the bereaved hugging and comforting one another left our hearts feeling much the same loss.

Mozart was requested to write the "Requiem" mere months before his death. Through this job he inquired the meaning of death. He drew his final breath while still trying to extract the last juices of his genius. He is said to have admitted in tearful eyes that the music was being written for none other than himself, which adds to the mystery of his uncompleted masterpiece.

The work containing the composer's fiercest passion and determination was posthumously completed by one of his admiring students.

Mozart's "Requiem" is often performed in churches and cathedrals during solemn processions to soothe the souls of the dead. In Vienna, Austria, the music is played regularly during the coming-of-age ceremonies to pump up the passion of young men and women. It is a harmony of both sorrow and joy and makes life a bit more solemn.

"Free as a Bird," the Spanish folk song performed during memorial services and funerals also speaks of the sorrow of parting. The music would touch the many flood victims mourning the loss of family and friends. Let us play the "Requiem" to those wandering souls whose bodies are yet to be found, and help them reach their place of rest.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Choi Chul-joo

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