Magazine article Opera Canada

Mass in C

Magazine article Opera Canada

Mass in C

Article excerpt



Cams: 83.284

Mozart composed this mass to mark the birth of his first child, Raimund Leopold, and not in fulfillment of a commission (a rarity for him, considering it is such a major work). But as with his later Requiem, it was never completed, left unfinished not due to the ravages of illness and the composer's own premature death but in response to the sad passing of the child it was meant to honour, at the tender age of two months. It can also be seen as an offering to his new wife, Constanze, who survived her husband by many decades and confirmed the circumstances of this mass's creation.

Mozart finished only the Kyrie and Gloria as well as the Credo up to the "Et incarnatus est." But incomplete drafts of the Sanctus and Benedictus survive, confirming his one-time intention to finish the piece. There is no Agnus Dei. Much has been made of the fact that the composer seems to have become disheartened, abandoning the work after the section that is itself a celebration of birth. The mass was performed only once in his lifetime, in October 1783, possibly by filling out the missing movements with parallel sections from earlier masses.

This recording, by Kammerchor Stuttgart and Hofkapelle Stuttgart under the direction of Frieder Bernius, features a newly completed edition for Carus-Verlag undertaken jointly by Bernius and Dr. …

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