Even if you do not know Mozart’s Requiem, you have probably heard pieces of it. The dark, powerful music was heard in the movie “Amadeus,” and it captured the public’s imagination – to the extent that it has been heard since then in dozens of movies. Among them are “X-Men 2,” “Elizabeth” and, perhaps most famously, “The Big Lebowski” (when Mr. Lebowski is in seclusion and looking back on his life).

The music came into existence under haunting circumstances. In 1791, the year he died, Mozart accepted a commission from an anonymous cloaked stranger for a Mass for the dead. Scholars debate to this day whether, as he wrote it, he knew that he was dying. You listen to the piece, though, and you know. The overpowering choruses, the ethereal melody of the “Lacrimosa” – the absolute last notes that Mozart wrote – and even other things you cannot quite put your finger on tell you that the Requiem, completed after Mozart’s death, was written by a man who was looking into the next world.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, led by Music Director JoAnn Falletta, perform Mozart’s Requiem twice this weekend. The soloists are soprano Sari Gruber, mezzo soprano Stacey Rishoi, tenor Charles Reid and bass Darren Stokes. Preceding the Requiem is a very different but also deeply moving masterpiece, the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No. 10. – Mary Kunz Goldman


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus – When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Where: Kleinhans Music Hall. Tickets: $32-$77. Info: 885-5000,