The Mass could have been first performed at the Collegiate Church, or at the church dedicated to the Trinity itself; it seems probable that it was not intended for the Salzburg Cathedral. In the year prior to its composition, Hieronymus Colloredo had been appointed archbishop of Salzburg, and his liturgical reforms included keeping a tight rein on musical style.
The lack of soloists may well be in response to his demands, which Mozart was bound to accept in his capacity as concertmaster to the archiepiscopal court. A few years afterward he complained that he was forced to make the music for an entire celebration of the Mass including epistle sonata and motet last no longer than three-quarters of an hour. In spite of its modest scale the orchestra of the original version consists of strings only, without violas , it impresses us as being a more convincing and heartfelt piece than the preceding Mass, K.
It is also more deliberately vocal in spirit, and introduces a quartet of soloists. Its melodic curves are flexible, graceful, and tender, notwithstanding the drastic concision of each motive and the flashing speed of the choral declamation. Concise as this work is, however, Mozart never superimposes different parts of the text. The most remarkable parts of the Mass are in the Credo, in which the famous four-tone motive culminating in the Finale of the Jupiter Symphony, K.
The Missa brevis in D major, K. It quickly became one of the most popular settings of the Mass by Mozart, who later had it performed in Munich in The strongly triadic Kyrie undergoes contrapuntal development and, like the following movement, favors a full choral sound, while the Benedictus is reserved in customary manner for solo voices, which this Mass employs only occasionally.
The concluding Agnus Dei, on the other hand, has an almost concertante character, featuring tutti passages that occur at intervals in the manner of ritornellos. June or July ? The Mass in C major, K. The archbishop of Salzburg suffered such lengthy masses to be performed only on very special occasions; such an occasion in mid has yet to come to light. On November 17, , however, Count Ignaz Joseph Spaur, the coadjutant of the bishopric of Brixen, and a longstanding acquaintance of the Mozart family, was ordained as titular Bishop of Chrysopel at a ceremony in Salzburg Cathedral.
In a letter of May 28, , Leopold Mozart mentions a certain mass that his son composed for Count Spaur; this could conceivably refer to a mass for the ordination. On stylistic grounds, K. See also the note for the Missa brevis in C major, K. With its overriding pathos and grand dimensions, K. And finally, in accordance with the representative nature of the work, there is the grandiose style of the great fugues. The manuscripts are dated November for K. Recent analysis of the handwriting has shown that these dates were tampered with and may not be authentic. With the Sanctus once again concise and contained, the Benedictus overflowing with rich melody, and the Agnus Dei, with its chromatically intoned plea for peace, woven with restless violin figuration, this is an expressive work of depth, despite its brevity of form.
To distinguish it from its companions, most of which are in the standard church key of C major standard for solemn masses, that is , K. Joannis de Deo , composed about a year earlier, has a similar, though more elaborate, organ solo. Like K. Here Mozart forgoes polyphonic development, and even the traditional closing fugues of the Gloria and Credo are avoided. The requisite formal conciseness did not exclude an abundance of invention; indeed the great structural intensity achieved seems to illustrate a passage from a letter written by Mozart to Padre Martini earlier that year.
The Missa brevis in B flat major, K. However, its plan is much less tradition-bound: the customary fugues are missing and the contrapuntal treatment of individual sections is eschewed; only the Sanctus is complex in structure, while elsewhere homophonic choral writing predominates. The solo parts are vocally more demanding.
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Mozart departs most from tradition in the concluding Agnus Dei. Whereas the mood in this section is normally pastoral and festive, the present movement is dramatically tense, almost grimly determined in places. The extensive scoring assigns the work to the Salzburg Cathedral, where it was probably heard on Easter Behind the apparent problem-free flow of the work lies very deliberate delicacy of detail. His only later mass is the magnificent torso constituting the Mass in C minor, K.
The designation Missa solemnis refers less to the duration of the work than to its rich scoring — so the work was presumably composed for a festive occasion. The tendency toward homophony that was already incipient some years earlier is encountered here again: the contrast of different vocal and instrumental sonorities takes precedence over contrapuntal artistry. Criticism of this kind is misplaced, however, for it fails to acknowledge the stylistic unity of music in the eighteenth century and attempts to assign church music to an imperfectly understood stile antico.
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Mozart has abandoned tradition here in other respects as well: the Benedictus, usually a graceful section, is made severely contrapuntal — and adopts the astringent A minor tonality that we know from the piano sonata K. With this independent-minded piece Mozart concluded his duties as a composer of church music for the Salzburg court. Origin: Vienna, c. The powerful fragment that is the C minor Mass, K.
Coronation Mass (Mozart)
It throws up a whole series of questions that to this day cannot be resolved with certainty. Mozart, whose departure in May from the service of the archbishop of Salzburg freed him from any further obligation to write church music, began in the summer of without any known external motivation to compose a large-scale mass, and this circumstance is not entirely explained in terms of the fulfillment of a much-quoted vow. About a decade before K.
Cecilia Mass , his last use of it before he finally developed, in his late, mature high masses, the classical type of symphonic mass in which each movement is a continuous whole. Other works inspired by Bach also came from these years, including the Fugue in C minor for two pianos K. We do not know why Mozart put the unfinished Mass aside. His hurried transcription for an academy as concerts were then called in of the Kyrie and Gloria, with two added arias, into an Italian occasional cantata Davidde penitente K.
For a long time August 25, , was accepted as the date of the first performance. The Austrian conductor Bernhard Paumgartner, however, was able to fix the date as October 23 of that year. It is not known how Mozart set about supplying the missing sections necessary for a liturgical performance in St. Attempts to complete the work by using sections of earlier Mozart masses have also been made since then, but modern performances are almost always restricted to the original parts.
This task was carried out at the tum of the present century by the German musician Alois Schmitt, who was responsible for retrieving the work from the oblivion into which it had sunk. The orchestration follows the Salzburg norm: besides strings there are a pair each of oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets, together with timpani. An organ continuo was taken for granted. Mozart, in his work on this Mass, was little concerned with unity of style, and he has often been criticized for this.
Nevertheless, not only Bach but also the eighteenth-century Italian tradition went into the composition of this Mass. It is indeed a summing-up that bears the stamp of the highest creative power and originality, even if this is gained at the expense of compactness and unity of style.
Origin: Vienna, to ? Scoring: SATB, 2. Mozart specialist Alan Tyson, however, on examining sketches for several Kyries on paper datable around , suggested that Mozart may well have been at work then on a Mass, with a view to obtaining an ecclesiastical position, and that the present Kyrie, which is not datable as the autograph is lost, may have been from this period too.
A date just prior to Don Giovanni , with its central key of D minor, is not unthinkable. On December 14, , Count Franz Walsegg-Stuppach, an Austrian aristocrat and musical dilettante, directed the performance of a Requiem Mass in memory of his wife. Count Walsegg was a liar, but not a thief: he would commission composers to write music for him, which he would then recopy and pass off as his own.
The composers were well paid, his own vanity was satisfied, and if the members of his court knew about the deception they must have reflected that they were probably better off listening to the music of professionals than to that of the amateur Count himself. It may be that Walsegg had solicited advice about the commission from his wealthy friend Michael Puchberg, a merchant who was also a friend and benefactor of Mozart.
Without disclosing his name, he asked the composer to write a setting of the Requiem Mass.
He produced fifty ducats, already a generous fee, promising to pay a further fifty when the work was finished. Mozart, desperate for money, accepted the commission, telling the mysterious stranger that he would have the score ready in four weeks. The grim man was in fact an agent of Count Walsegg, one Franz Anton Leitgeb, owner or manager of a gypsum plant situated near the Walsegg estate. It is little wonder that Mozart, whose health was failing, should have felt bound to accept the commission.