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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Missa in C-Major, KV 220

Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle", Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Johannes Ebenbauer, Elke Eckerstorfer


Mozart, Mass in C major, KV 220 – Sparrow Mass

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the "Sparrow Mass" at the age of about 20, when he held the position of concertmaster at the Salzburg court.

The era of rationalism and enlightenment also brought regulations to church music which demanded turning away from baroque pomp and striving for objectivity, comprehensibility and, not least, frugality in a certain temporal and creative simplicity in church music. In Salzburg, the Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Count Colloredo limited the solemn masses to a maximum duration of three quarters of an hour, without, however, dispensing with the use of trumpets and timpani. Mozart thus had to combine the required brevity and textual simplicity with the necessary splendour. The large final fugues and contrapuntal complexity are therefore largely dispensed with. In order to achieve musical unity, especially in the text-rich movements Gloria and Credo, Mozart works with recapitulations as well as thematic and motivic repetitions, especially in the accompanying orchestral parts.

A special motif can be found in the Sanctus of this mass: Tone repetitions with a short suggestion from below (f-sharp-g / b-c), reminiscent of the call of sparrows, which is why the Mass later received the name "Sparrow Mass". It is no coincidence that the sparrows begin to chirp at "Pleni sunt caeli et terra", the passage that describes the whole of creation in heaven and on earth praising the glory of God and unitedly joining in the "Hosanna".

The catchy and at times almost folk-like composition, which is solemn and at the same time one of Mozart's shortest masses, spread quickly and still remains very popular today. Maria Helfgott

Translation: Godwin Gundacker using


Conductor: Johannes Ebenbauer
Organist: Elke Eckerstorfer
Choir: Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle"
Orchestra: Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Celebrant: P. Georg Rota LC


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Trombones and Flutes of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra