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Mass in C minor KV 427 / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

June 7 @ 20:00 - 21:30


33rd Mozart Festival in Warsaw

Basilica of the Holy Cross in Warsaw

Mass in C minor KV 427

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Joanna Kędzior – Sopran

Joanna Motulewicz – Mezzosopran

Łukasz Załęski – Tenor

Szymon Kobyliński – Bass

Vocal Ensemble of the Warszawska Opera Kameralna

Chorus Master – Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz

Period Instrument Orchestra of the Warszawska Opera Kameralna
Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense

Antoni Wit


If you seek somewhere for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s fascination with masterpieces of late Baroque oratorio music, then the most beautiful fruit of immersing oneself in the legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel is the premiere of the Mass in C minor, which took place on 23 October 1783. Artistically equal to the Requiem, it is one of the most famous oratorios of all time.

We learn little about the creation of this magnificent work from Mozart’s own letters. “I made the promise and hope to be able to keep it…” wrote Wolfgang Mozart to his father on 4 January 1783. “The score of half a mass, which is still lying here waiting to be finished, is the best proof that I really made a promise…”. It’s worth adding that the promise was directly related to his marriage to Konstanze Weber; Mozart pledged that if the wedding took place, he would honour it with the Mass. In-depth historical research into Mozart’s legacy reveals, page by page, successive events related to its creation and – as evidenced by the quoted fragment of the letter and facts – a certain reluctance to create a work with Salzburg in mind, the city he bid farewell to at St. Peter’s Church, already thinking of Vienna. He was fully aware that it would not be successful in Vienna, as sacred music was not particularly valued in that city. In order to achieve its premiere, he borrowed excerpts from his other scores, all to maintain the order of the individual parts and make them complete from the perspective of accompanying the liturgy. The composer probably began work on the Mass in July 1782, often interrupting it to dedicate more time to it in the summer of 1783.

The composer himself likely performed the organ part, while his wife Konstanze took on the soprano part. It is to her unparalleled skills that the captivating passages of the work are dedicated to the soprano. Mozart fully composed the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo (to “Et incarnatus est”), Sanctus and Benedictus. In “Et incarnatus est” Mozart noted vocal lines, obbligato flute, oboe and bassoon, as well as the bass part. The string parts were supplemented in later years, as well as the Hosanna. The fact that the work was finally completed is thanks to Alois Schmitt, who initiated its reconstruction, while the fragments were completed by Helmut Eder. To realize how long this masterpiece was supplemented, it is worth mentioning that Thomas Cornelius composed the missing Agnus Dei, and the world heard it in… 2015. It is significant that both of his iconic oratorios, this and aforementioned Requiem, were not entirely composed by Master Amadeus, and their final forms are owed to other composers. The fact that the Mass in C minor is so elaborate is the result of a splendid gift, a collection of Bach and Handel scores that came into Mozart’s hands from Baron von Swieten, which dazzled him, particularly with fugues and multivocal choral polyphony.

The Mozart masterpiece will be conducted by Maestro Antoni Wit.

Bazylika Świętego Krzyża
Address: Krakowskie Przedmieście 3
Warszawa, 00-047

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