Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1858) was one of the most remarkable characters of the music scene in the classical and early romantic era. He started as a pupil of Johann Michael Haydn, and later had close ties with his older Joseph Haydn. During his life he came into contact with almost every composer of fame. He travelled throughout Europe, but didn't stay very long at one place. It is assumed he has written about 2,000 works. Among them are 50 masses, three funeral services and four Requiems.
In 1816 Neukomm moved to Rio de Janeiro where he became the music teacher of João VI, Prince Regent of Portugal. It was there one year later, that he composed the monumental Missa Solemnis pro Die acclamationis Johannis VI, intended to salute King João VI's accession to the throne of Portugal and Brazil at the grand ceremony of acclamation that was to take place in 1818.
The funeral service recorded here dates from 1838, when Neukomm was living in France. The music of the Requiem is rather unspectacular, written for the liturgical use at the funeral. it is mainly the whole structure of this service and the way it should be performed which is very intriguing: The Requiem and the psalm 'De profundis' were to be performed in church, whereas the psalm 'Miserere' and the funeral march were to be performed during the procession which accompanied the corpse to the cemetery.
Together these two discs deliver a nice portrayal of a most fascinating character in the European music scene of the early 19th century.