Next Friday, 16 December 2011, I’ll be singing with Coro Tibério Franco–Terra-Chã Wolfgang A. Mozart’s Coronation Mass K 317 at Angra do Heroísmo Cathedral. This is not my favourite repertoire (I’m a more polyphonic-person) but it will be an excellent opportunity to revisit the sacred music of this genius of Western music history.
This is the first “mozartian” mass, as it is the first classical mass, I have ever sung. It is also being a very interesting experience to analyse the relation between music and text and how Mozart sets the texts. In my opinion, this text setting has a clearly Italian influence, maybe from one of his masters Padre Giovanni Battista Martini. This is especially notorious on the Credo. When I’m looking at masses, I pay special attention to the Credo for I believe it summons all the techniques the composer wants to put in his work.
In fact, that is precisely what happens in Mozart’s work, where we can find a mix of different textures according to the meaning of the text. The “Et incarnatus est” and the “Crucifixus” sections are a fantastic example of his mastery. Very small sections, predominately homophonic but very rich harmonically with the harmony working together with the text: the Et “incarnatus” has very clear and thin vocal solo lines with only a few ornaments from the violins which lead to the “Crucifixus”, with a choir mass entry gradually diminishing to “sepultus est”. This is why Mozart IS Mozart.