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BCS - Concert Notes
BCS Next Concert

Concert Notes
Mozart Masses

7.30pm
29 March 2014

Bath Abbey

Summer 2013 © Peter Bradshaw

Mozart's "Great" C Minor Mass is a magnificent mixture of beautiful operatic arias and monumental choruses and ranks alongside his Requiem as one of his most glorious choral works.

The young Mozart's close study of the music of Bach and Handel is evident in exhilarating choruses which alternate with show-stopping solos and duets, but he displays his own unique genius in more measured passages, where one heart-rending moment succeeds another. There is absolutely no let up in inspiration and invention throughout the piece.

In vivid contrast to this rich Mozartian claret, Stravinsky's neo-classical Mass will flow through the magnificent vaults of Bath Abbey like sparkling spring water. In this entirely different approach to the musical expression of religious faith, Stravinsky eschews the use of strings. Just brass and woodwind together cut cleanly through varied choral textures in a vivid declaration of Christian conviction.

In the first half of the concert, contrasts in scale will be provided by three shorter works. The third setting that Mozart made of the Latin hymn, Regina Coeli, bubbles along in a vivacious celebration of Christ's resurrection. Stravinsky's setting of the Angelic Salutation, Ave Maria, is brief but beautiful; devotion expressed with extreme economy of means.

Finally, we have Mozart's ineffable Ave Verum. Originally written as a thank you note, it compresses more emotion into a mere 46 bars than is found in the whole of many grander works by lesser composers. As such it provides an ideal prelude to the indubitably "Great" mass which completes the programme.


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