Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Masses

Much like Stacey, this week was far too chock full of masses for me to not write on them. I listened to four Mozart masses for countless hours: K. 49, K. 192, K. 317, and K 427. It’s very interesting to listen to these masses back to back because most of the time we don’t really imagine Mozart being anything less than amazing. After listening to K. 49, Mozart’s first mass written when he was twelve years old, I can definitely say that Mozart had some room to grow as a composer. To be fair, I don’t know anyone who could have written a full length mass at the age of twelve. I think I was still coloring at that age (actually, I think I’m still in my coloring phase) K 192 and “The Coronation Mass” (K. 317) were my favorites to compare because 317 was only written five years after 192. It’s amazing to listen to the developments that Mozart made as a composer and also the way he took the mass genre and made it his own. K. 317 is by far my favorite to listen to. Another very interesting trend that you can notice in listening to these masses which we never imagine Mozart doing is copying the styles of other composers or even re-using other compositions of his own. The 427 (especially in the Gloria section) has moments when you would swear it is the Halleluiah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. K 317 also has a movement that’s virtually exactly the same as the aria “Dove sono” from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. It’s so interesting because we all have these preconceived notions about Mozart not re-using and being indefinitely creative. While he is certainly a musical genius, listening to these masses helped remind me that he was also human.

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