I’m going to continue on with listening to Mozart’s sacred music by listening to the “Coronation” mass. Once again, we’re going backwards (Requiem, then “Great”, then “Coronation”).
I’m listening to Christopher Hogwood lead the Academy of Ancient Music and Winchester Cathedral Choir. Emma Kirkby, Catherine Robbin, John Mark Ainsley, and Michael George are the soloists.
I will be skipping the Epistle Sonata in C Major that is placed in the middle of the mass on this recording.
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find this entire recording on YouTube. The “Agnus Dei” is shared below.
Mozart: Mass in C Maj. “Coronation” K. 317
- Much lighter Kyrie than yesterday.
- Choral part at beginning is totally homophonic.
- Soloists join in quickly.
- Very simple opening.
- This is much more like the Mozart I expect elsewhere. Sounds much
- Rousing piece.
- Homophonic. Winds act as instrument group. Lots of pithy parallel thirds action.
- Soloists’ music is not particularly virtuosic. At least not yet.
- Nice accents. Interesting dynamics shifts.
- Word painting on “descendit”. That’s funny.
- Wow sudden shift into Adagio section with soloists.
- The words about the crucifixion and Pontius Pilate are given harsh even spooky harmonies.
- This is a near non-stop workout for the strings. Wow.
- I still find the “Credo” portion of the mass impressive just from a practical point of view. It’s a lot of text.
- Mozart using harmonies to give this text a sense of change.
- Listen to how active the strings and basso continuo are. They are providing a lot of contrast to the voices.
- The “Osanna” is very odd. Almost like a trio.
- Nice piece for the soloists. Not too demanding technically, but it’s very pleasant.
- Lots of trills and accents for variety.
- Ha. The “Osanna” comes back (twice). Still sounds weird to me.
6. Agnus Dei
- This is reminding me how much I like Emma Kirkby’s singing.
- Lovely solo. Nice moment near end of solo section where instruments imitate her line and give her and us a breather. Something refreshing about it.
- Switch to Andante con moto and addition of other soloists.
- Then Allegro con spirito with the chorus and off to a boisterous end with timpani and brass.
To my ears, this is much more what I expect to hear when I listen to Mozart music, even with singers. Besides some of the relentless string lines, there’s no real technical fireworks shown off from the musicians. The text is mostly presented as a series of chords with a few moments of staggered entrances and other techniques to liven it up. There’s no real polyphony here. Definitely no fugues.
That’s not a complaint, but it does show that time changed some of Mozart’s priorities. This is still an enjoyable piece, with the solo portion of the “Agnus Dei” and actually the “Credo” being standouts in my mind. But it does help me understand why I had such strong reactions to the Requiem and “Great” C minor mass.
Until next time.