Sunday, 12 January 2014

Singing Mozart with Marlborough College Choral Society

Ian, our accompanist sits at the old Steinway piano, soon to be replaced with a brand new one.

The original Steinway was purchased for £25,000 many years ago, and is being replaced with a new one costing £75,000.   Steinway have however, offered us £25,000 trade in for the old piano, so the investment in the instrument has not been lost.   Ian is a wonderful accompanist, a quiet, reserved man who plays not only the piano but the chapel organ.  In the spring of each years, he gives a series of  organ recitals in the chapel.

The sopanos sit left, with the basses and tenors in the middle, and the altos far right.

Morzart's Requiem K626 and The Coronation Mass K317

I have sung the Requiem on several occasions, and the Coronation Mass only once way back in year 2000.   Both are wonderful to sing, and each time I sing both, I discover something new in the score.

The Requiem Mass was composed in Vienna in 1791, and was left unfinished after the composer's death on on December 5th of that year.  A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was finished in 1792, and delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a Requiem Mass to commemorate the anniversary of his wife´s death on February 14th.   "Amadeus," a play written by Peter Schaffer, and later filmed,  tells the story of the mysterious figure who commissioned the work, the death of Mozart, and the eventual completion of the Mass by Süssmayr.

The Coronation Mass was completed on March 23rd 1779 in Salzburg, and is one of Mozart´s 17 extant settings of the Ordinary of the Mass.  Mozart had just returned to the city after 18 months of fruitless job hunting in Paris and Mannheim.  His father Leopold promptly found him a post as court organist and composer at Salzburg Cathedral.  This short Mass was probably premiered there on Easter Sunday April 4th 1779.   

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