Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, Seit 1498. To home page

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piccolominimass, KV 258

Vienna Boys Choir, Members of the Vienna State Opera orchestra and men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle", Jordi Casals, Jeremy Joseph


Mozart, Mass in C major, KV 258 (Piccolominimesse)

Mozart wrote this "Missa brevis", which became known as the "Piccolominimesse", in Salzburg in 1776. At that time, Salzburg was still one of the most important religious and power-political centres. Because the "Prince-Archbishops" were at the same time heads of a secular dominion, church music here had to serve in a special way both the glorification of God and secular representation. The traditional musical symbols of power were trumpets and timpani. The Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Count Hieronymus Colloredo, demonstrated his high rank among the imperial princes by also having the "Missae breves", i.e. the type of mass that had to make do with a small instrumental ensemble in other places, scored with trumpets and timpani. In this mass, Mozart places the singing in the foreground in opposition to the orchestra, using trumpets and timpani primarily only for those passages in which praise is expressed, including the exceptionally solemn Benedictus.

The text is interpreted in a differentiated way, for example when in the Credo, after the incarnation of Christ ("et incarnatus est") is depicted in a lovely solo, the horrors of the crucifixion appear in a threatening, chromatically rising repetition of the word "Crucifixus" in the bass, then all the voices reunite in the "passus et sepultus est" ("suffered and was buried"), to then celebrate the Redemption with the Ascension into heaven traditionally with rejoicing soaring melodies.

How the Mass came to be called the "Piccolomini Mass" is not clear. The later name "Spaur Mass" was attributed to it because Leopold Mozart mentioned a corresponding "Spaur Mass" in a letter, which had probably been composed for his friend Ignaz Joseph Count Spaur. It is not conclusively proven that this mass is indeed the one mentioned. Maria Helfgott

Translation: Godwin Gundacker


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

Celebrant: Peter Schipka


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