Mozart Day 6 - Mass

Liszt Academy - Grand Hall

MOZART: Mass in C minor, K. 427

Performed by Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Katalin Szutrély soprano, Zoltán Megyesi tenor, Lóránt Najbauer baritone
Purcell Choir
Concerto Budapest
Conductor: György Vashegyi

“In late July 1783, Mozart and his wife paid a visit to his father in Salzburg. […] How did he use this short time there? He completed his mass, which he dedicated for his wife, assuming the birth was successful, and half of which mass was already completed in January.” Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, one of Mozart’s very first biographers and, moreover, the second husband of the composer’s widow, wrote this in his biography and although it would be easy to misunderstand the above quotation in relation to one of the most important characteristics of the mass in C minor, that is, the fact that it remained incomplete, still this text appropriately conveys the supplicatory nature of the work and the role Constanze and Salzburg played in its creation. Since as Mozart himself wrote to his father in relation to this mass in January 1783, before the family reunion of reconciliation in Salzburg, and the birth of his first son, who died in infancy: “I made the promise firmly in my heart and I hope I keep it. […] but as proof of my promise I have the score of half a mass that is lying here waiting to be finished.” In addition to the family aspects, and the splendorous glory of the soprano part dedicated to Constanze, the Mass in C minor links both the past and the future. It links to the past of music history because the acquaintance with the art of Bach and Handel left a mark in this work of Mozart; and a link to the art ideal of Romanticism and (post)modernity still then lying dormant, in the womb of the future, in which especially great attention and a favoured place went to unfinished compositions.

Once again, soloists of the Mass in C minor performed with the participation of Concerto Budapest and Purcell Choir are vocalists who regularly appear at period-oriented concerts conducted by György Vashegyi. Thus, we come across Chantal Santon-Jeffery, the French soprano most celebrated in Budapest as well, in the company of Katalin Szutrély, Zoltán Megyesi and Lóránt Najbauer.