A LOT OF BRASSES IN THESE MASSES!!!
Every piece that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)wrote bears the mark of the unique genius that caused Haydn to say to Leopold:"I delcare to you upon my honor that I consider your son the greatest composer I have ever heard."
Mozart's sixteen completed Mass settings all date from before 1781, the year in which he quit his native Salzburg to try his luck as a freelance composer in Vienna. While it is true that little sacred music dates from the time of Mozart's greatest maturity, the best work of his teens and early twenties show him deploying his easy skills in counterpoint and fluid vocal melody to produce music of elegance and charm,which, while not greatly radical, nevertheless married his strengths successfully to the accepted Austrian church idiom of the day.
Since the city of Salzburg had a long tradition of church music, generally with a brass-heavy orchestral accompaniment, Mozart retained this sound in his Masses, with their trumpets and trombones, and in the case of the 'Coronation' Mass,horns as well.
Mozart's earliest Mass, the so-called 'Waisenhaus-Messe', was not in fact composed for Salzburg but for Vienna intended for the dedication of a new orphanage church.
The 'Missa Trinitas' was composed five years later in Salzburg for the Feast of the Holy Trinity in June 1773. When Mozart wrote the C major 'Credo' Mass in November, 1776, it was in a lively and cheerful vein and quickly became very popular thruout the Salzburg region.
The two Masses K317 and K337, both again in C major,were written for the Easter celebrations of 1779 and 1790, respectively, and they show a rising maturity. The K317 'Coronation' Mass was performed in Vienna during the celebrations for the coronation of Emperor Leopold in 1790.
Whenever I see the name Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of KIng's College, I know I've got a quality production!..And this is no exception. The wonderful tuneful voices of the boy sopranos and male altos add so much to the sound of Mozart as well as any other early composer, The soloists, however, were brought in for this disc, and are not members of the choir. They are: Margaret Marshal(soprano)-Ann Murray (contralto)-Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor)-David Wilson-Johnson (bass)-Suzanne Mentzer (soprano)-Bernadette di Nissa (contralto)-Neil Mackie (tenor) and Stephen Roberts (bass). THERE WERE NO COUNTERTENORS SINGING SOLO PARTS.
Two very finely performed recordings.