Why was Mozart's Great Mass left unfinished

Mozart - Mass in C minor, KV 427 (with work introduction)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mass in C minor, KV 427

With an introduction by Markus Vanhoefer

Christina Landshamer soprano
Anke Vondung Mezzo-soprano
Steve Davislim tenor
Tobias Berndt baritone

Bavarian Radio Choir
Academy for Early Music Berlin

Howard Arman

2 CDs, BR-KLASSIK 900917
Booklet: German / English
Total time: 73:10

To the new edition by Clemens Kemme: Mozart's Mass in C minor from 1782 - although unfinished - is understood as one of the most outstanding mass settings in music history. The earliest attempt at a reconstruction was made in 1901, others followed in 1956 and from the 1980s, after all the surviving sources were available. The reconstruction or completion of the mass by Clemens Kemme, which was completed in spring 2018, is limited to the original sources and avoids arbitrary additions. This CD presents the first recording of the reconstruction, which has been praised by experts. Together with the introduction to the work, it is possible to examine the masterpiece from a new perspective.

About the work: Mozart began to write a new mass in Vienna in the summer of 1782, apparently without any commission. On August 4, 1782, he married Constanze Mozart, and his letters show that he "promised in his heart that if he would bring her to Salzburg as his wife, he would perform a newly composed mass there." the work was performed on October 26, 1783 in the St. Peter's Church in Salzburg with Constanze as soprano soloist, but there is no concrete evidence of such a performance. Nevertheless, the mass is to be understood as a kind of votive offering for Constanze. The reason why the work was not completed may possibly be related to the church music reform of Emperor Joseph II, who had banned excessive church music. In 1785, Mozart reworked Kyrie and Gloria der Messe for his cantata “Davide penitente”.

To production: The studio production, which was recorded between July 30th and August 2nd, 2018, features a top-class soloist cast consisting of Christina Landshamer (soprano), Anke Vondung (mezzo-soprano), Steve Davislim (tenor) and Tobias Berndt (baritone). Soloists, the BR choir and the original sound ensemble Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin were directed by Howard Arman.

Factory introduction: The recording of Mozart's Mass in C minor is complemented by the CD Ways to music, an introduction to the work by Markus Vanhoefer, spoken by Hans Jürgen Stockerl, Norman Hacker, Franziska Ball and Katja Schild.


CD reviews

rbb kulturradio (Astrid Belschner, November 13, 2018):
“The choir proves once again that it is one of the best choirs around. It sounds lean and flexible, balanced and homogeneous - and yet the listener has the impression that every choir singer can fully develop. In addition, the choir has a wide dynamic range at its disposal - from the quietest, sustaining pianissimo to the all-fulfilling fortissimo. This work has also been interpreted in the right style - with Mozartian ease and esprit, but also with the necessary depth.

The soloists are also convincing. And it pays to have a special orchestra here for this music: the Berlin Academy of Early Music. She makes music in a committed and spirited manner and quasi sets the pulse - compelling, but not intrusive.

All in all: an absolute recommendation! "

concerti.de (December 2018):
"Mozart's reconstructed mass impresses in the carefully edited version by Clemens Kemme, interpreted in a colorful manner by a well-prepared ensemble."

To the review