Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concentus Musicus Wien, Arnold Schoenberg Chor|
Mozart: Litaniae Lauretanae K. 195 - Missa Brevis K. 275, etc... / Bonney, Mei, von Magnus, Azesberger, Heilmann, Cachemaille; Harnoncourt
Listen to Samples
More Terrific Early Mozart Liturgical Music
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two CD's of Mozart's masses on Teldec directed by Nikolaus Haroncourt, with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Concentus Musicus Wien (Vienna) are two delightful samples of Mozart's genius applied to liturgical music. Both sets of works were written while Mozart was still in the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg (a political rival to Emperor Joseph, as seen in the early scenes of Peter Schaffer's play `Amadeus').
These liturgical works bring two things to mind. First, and easier, is the observation that virtually all of these works are musically more interesting than the famous unfinished `Requiem Mass' finished and performed postmortem, and the center of one of the great mysteries surrounding Mozart's life. After listening to it for years, I've finally come to the conclusion that it's majesty is due at least as much to the fact that it is performed in a cathedral by large professional choirs, than to any musical genius. In the same circumstances, the `Happy Birthday' song would sound grand. These earlier liturgical works seem to have much more genuine musical interest.
The second question which comes to mind is why we, or more properly, organized religion and its patrons, are constantly underwriting new musical settings for worship. One is far less surprised by modern `folk' masses when one realized that Mozart was putting Catholic liturgy in the mouths of Neapolitan opera soloists, with matching orchestral accompaniment.
Not that I'm complaining. I only envy the Catholics their monopoly on the world's greatest music in praise of God, while we Lutherans are left with hymns which are constrained by what can be handled by an amateur choir and parishioners who are novices at reading music.
One of the most satisfying aspects of these works is their brevity. If one had the ambition to underwrite the performance of a classical Mass, these are much easier to handle than Mozart's `Requiem', let alone Bach's epic `Mass in B-Minor'. They almost make one nostalgic for the old Latin service, almost!