For the "Ouverture spirituelle", featuring sacred music within the Salzburg Festival, Nikolaus Harnoncourt chose two seldom heard works by Mozart. Together with the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and his Concentus Musicus Wien ensemble, he conducts the Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento K.243 and the Missa longa in C major K.262 in the unique venue that is Salzburg Cathedral, a jewel of Baroque architecture. These two highly expressive works were written by Mozart when he was a mere twenty years old.
On July 16, 1999, the tenth anniversary of the death of Herbert von Karajan, the Berliner Philharmoniker paid tribute to their late maestro in his home town of Salzburg. In a live shooting from the imposing Salzburg Cathedral, Claudio Abbado conducted an all- Mozart programme, honouring his predecessor both by the careful selection of the music and the singers. The Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Claudio Abbado, performed Mozart's Requiem in D minor, KV 626, among other works. Soprano Rachel Harnisch appeared as the soloist on the two complementing arias Betrachte dies mein Herz und frage mich and Laudate Dominum Featuring soprano Karita Mattila, contralto Sara Mingardo, tenor Michael Schade and bass baritone Bryn Terfel as soloists of the Requiem. A performance that in every respect met Karajan's own high artistic standards. Lovingly restored and carefully brought to HD, this unique performance of the Berliner Philharmoniker at Salzburg Cathedral is now finally available on Blu-ray Disc.
Known for having elevated the symphony and the opera to popular levels in his lamentably short life, Mozart was also substantially involved in sacred music. Among many smaller works for solo chorus and for combined choral/orchestral forces, he composed an enormous seventeen settings of the Latin Mass, of which this is his last. But this C Minor mass, which is said he composed in 1782 and 1783, was never really completed in a way Mozart found satisfactory, and thus it has been up to others to put this work into coherent form. The recording here is based on the reconstruction done by Salzburg composer and musicologist Helmut Eder; he worked on the "Et Incanatus Est" section of the Credo, as well as the concluding Sanctus and Benedictus sections. The work is still Mozart's, and is scored for a fairly substantial orchestra: one flute; pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, and trumpets; three trombones; timpani; organ; and the full string compliment, plus four soloists and chorus.