Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622
Mozart Finale to The Act 2 of Die Zauberflöte
Mozart Great Mass in C minor (Große Messe in c-Moll), K. 427/417a
The Clarinet Concerto was the musical genius’s last major instrumental piece, and one of his most poignant concertos. Mozart was at the shining apex of his talent at the time he wrote the clarinet concerto. His mastery at blending solo instrument with orchestra is staggering in this work and it is no wonder that today it is regrded as one of the world’s most cherished classical works for orchestra. The clarinet concerto seems to have been the perfect paintbrush for Mozart to illustrate his inner melancholy with. At the time of writing it he had fallen ill, and perhaps knew his doom was imminent. Written in 3 movements, the work begins with an Allegro: A rich, flowing first movement which sets the stage for the clarinet with breathtakingly virtuosic passages, packed with enormous jumps between various registers of the instrument. The famous second movement Adagio in which the composer express his inner loneliness is one of the most well known Mozart pieces, because of the touching solo melodies and the deep currents of melancholy which stream through it. In contrast the final Rondo, Allegro smashes the sadness of the second movement, charging to a bouncy, almost humorous finale in a flighty whirlwind of sound which rounds out the concerto.
Widely regarded as Mozart’s most grandiose and virtuosic choral work, the Great Mass in C minor (Große Messe in c-Moll), K. 427/417a, is the common name of the last musical setting of the mass by the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (which, like his famous Requiem, was left unfinished at the time of his death). Mozart composed the work in Vienna in 1782 and 1783, when he was no longer a church musician of the Salzburg Cathedral in thanksgiving for the life of his wife. A large-scale missa solemnis, the “Great” Mass is scored for two soprano soloists, a tenor and a bass, double chorus and large classical orchestra. The work was composed during 1782/83. In a letter to his father Leopold dated 4 January 1783, Mozart mentioned a vow he had made to write a mass when he would bring (his then fiancée) Constanze as his wife to Salzburg; Constanze then sang the glorious coloratura soprano aria “Et incarnatus est” at the work’s premiere. The first performance took place in Salzburg on Sunday 26 October 1783. Mozart had moved to Vienna in 1781, but was paying a visit to his home town in the company of Constanze, who had not yet met his father or his sister (Nannerl).
The work embodies magnificent pomp and solemnity, associated with the Salzburg traditions of the time, but it also anticipates the symphonic masses of Joseph Haydn in its solo-choral sharing. The mass shows the strong influences of Bach and Handel, whose music Mozart was studying at this time. The Mass in C minor looks back to the tradition of Bach’s great Mass in B minor, although it is not clear whether Mozart actually knew that specific work. Both are examples of what is sometimes called a Cantata Mass, in which the Gloria and Credo, the two parts with very lengthy texts, are subdivided into a series of arias and choruses. Mozart’s Mass also includes some of his most imposing fugues. He thus combines the old with the new, calling as well upon his gifts as a great opera composer and master of a gallant style.
In July 2015, Pope Francis told reporters that the “Et incarnatus est” from Mozart’s C minor Mass “is matchless; it lifts you to God!”
Andrew Wailes conductor
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir
Melbourne University Choral Society
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra
Soloists to be announced