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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Missa solemnis, KV 337

Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle", Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Jordi Casals, Robert Kovács


Mozart, Mass in C major, KV 337, Missa Solemnis

The "Missa Solemnis" KV 337 was Mozart's last Salzburg mass, composed in 1780.

The orchestra is on an equal footing with the singing in this mass. Mozart was able to achieve a special effect with the instrumentation in Salzburg Cathedral, where he found original features from the Baroque period: There were four organ galleries on the crossing pillars, on which the orchestra and the vocal soloists were divided into four groups, while the choir had its place as the fifth group with its own organ and bass below in the choir loft. This gave the juxtaposition of different instrumental groups, but also of soloists and choir, a special charm.

Mozart makes skilful use of dynamic contrasts and gradations here: already in the Kyrie, a restrained, simple beginning which, after an increase, leads into a quiet instrumental finale. The Sanctus features a small-scale juxtaposition of forte and piano, combined with a crescendo-like intensification. The Benedictus is unusually contrapuntal. Usually this movement displays a lovely melodic quality, but here it is an instrumentally intensified fugue, strongly interspersed with chromaticism, which ultimately leads into the jubilant "Hosanna". In the Agnus Dei, organ, oboe and bassoon concert with the solo soprano.

Mozart himself liked to use this mass even after his Salzburg period, when it came to presenting himself as a church musician. It was already widely performed during his lifetime and was probably already part of the repertoire of the Viennese court orchestra in the 1790s. Maria Helfgott

Translation: Godwin Gundacker using


Conductor: Jordi Casals
Organist: Robert Kovács
Choir: Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle"
Orchestra:  Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Celebrant: Peter Schipka


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