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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mozart's Mass in C Minor

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts composing had such a big influence on music, as Shakespeare had on poetry (Burk Introduction 8). The Mass in C Minor, The Great, was written in Vienna from the period of July 178 to May 178 with a double chorus (Zaslaw and Cowdery 14). The following five sections of the mass sum of the eighteenth century Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Benedictus (15).


The first section, Kyrie, is composed to make a dramatic effect. The orchestra of this section sets the mood with a repetition behind the choral parts (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 1). The Kyrie, a distressed plea for mercy, has a strong melodic flow that is both orchestral and choral (Burk 64). As I was listening to this section, I could not help to think that it sounded like a person was on their deathbed and people around the person crying. Towards the end of the song, the melody becomes more upbeat as if someone is being reborn.


The second section, Gloria, is composed into a cantata mass and it has seven movements. The first movement is called Gloria in excelsis. This movement begins as an Allegro vivace with an angelic-type choir and a full orchestra (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 1). The second movement is called Laudamus Te. This movement is written as a soprano solo that is accompanied by some Italian music (14). During the beginning of the song, the melody is so upbeat as if people were celebrating a special occasion.


Gratias is the third movement of Gloria. This movement is written as a five-part chorus whose mood is sustained by the orchestras rhythm. The fourth movement is called Domine Deus and its mood is very light for a soprano duet (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 14). Qui tollis is the fifth movement and its voices maintain the orchestras unchanging rhythm (15). This part of the song is very uplifting and I think it is really amazing how the lady can sing that high of notes.


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The sixth movement is called Quonian. This movement is a trio of soloists, which alternates with the orchestra. The last movement of Gloria is called Jesu Christe � Cum Sancto Spiritu. The complex choral counterpoint of this movement reaches a climax at the last repetition of the theme (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 15). This part of the song also has an uplifting melody and the singing becomes very high.


The third section of the Mass in C Minor is called Credo. This section is a magnificent assertion in C major and it has two movements (Burk 64). The first movement is Credo in unum Deum. The orchestra in this movement establishes the mood as a statement of belief (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 16). The second movement is called Et incarnatus est. This movement is written as a soprano solo that indicates a cadenza (Burk 64). As I listened to the cadenza part of the song, I felt relaxed. I thought it sounded like really soft music that people would play to get themselves asleep or for a parent to play for his sleepy child.


The fourth section of the Mass in C Minor is called Sanctus. This section is an eight-part double chorus that raises its voices by making an impressive harmony. The last part of the Sanctus song is called Osanna. This part is a double fugue that finishes with shouts of excitement (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 17). This song is the kind of music that keeps you up on your toes without ending once. Sanctus is full of excitement from the beginning to the end.


The fifth section of the Mass in C Minor is called Benedictus. This section is established as an orchestral movement before the chorus is played (Burk 64). This movement uses some of the same melodic figures that were used in Sanctus. The bass soloist completes the solo quartet for an original ensemble piece. This section repeats the Osanna part of Sanctus while the double chorus concludes the mass (Wiens, Ziegler, Aler, and Stone 17).


Mozart composed this grand full-scale Mass in C Minor as a wedding present to his wife, Constanze. His primary motive to make the Mass in C Minor was to please his bride, Constanze, with soprano solos. He wanted to increase his familys own respect for him and his wife (6). Parts of the mass were sung in a small church in Salzburg with Constanze herself as a soprano soloist. Mozart made parts of the mass into two different styles. He would give written music in the Italian opera style to the soloist while the double choruses were given the early Baroque Era style. In the form as Mozart left it, the mass is one of the three greatest settings of the Mass Ordinary. The Mass in C Minor is no more incomplete than Schuberts Symphony in B Minor (Denmead Online). The mass is proof that music for the church was more for Mozart than the fulfillment of a duty and it held a deep place in his affections as a composer (Burk 6).





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