Mozart was an avowed Freemason, and his connection to the order became integrated with his compositional output. In 1785 he composed the Maurerische Trauermusik (Masonic Funeral Music). It was written in honor of two deceased brethren Franz, Count Esterhazy de Galantha and Georg August, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Mozart associated certain musical motifs with Masonic ideas. The rising interval of the major sixth and various rhythmic embodiments of Masonic ritual knocks were among the elements he used as musical symbols. Although the Requiem is not specifically Masonic in nature, there are aspects present including some of these musical motifs. This 1991 recording bears the signature of Jordi Savall s talent as a conductor the intensity of emotion, clarity of structure and the emphasis on singing musical lines. This new multichannel re-mastering sheds new light on a true gem of the back catalog.
Wolfgang Mozart joined the order of the freemasons at the lodge "Zur Wohltдtigkeit" (Benefaction) in Vienna on December 14, 1784. Mozart and freemasonry seemed an ideal match, and in a little over a year he would achieve the status of "master mason." A small number of works among Mozart's late output was intended directly for use in Masonic lodges, and two major non-Masonic works, the opera Die Zauberflцte (The Magic Flute, K. 620) and the Requiem K. 626, share strong Masonic connections. The best known of Mozart's Masonic compositions is the Maurerische Trauermusik, K. 477 (479a) scored originally for two violins, two violas, clarinet, basset horn, two oboes, two horns, and bass. Mozart later added parts for two additional basset horns and bassoon, resulting in an instrumentation absolutely unique in Mozart's vast output…- David Lewis
These performances come from the first ever complete set of the Mozart symphonies, dating from the 1960s, and they still represent 'big orchestra' Mozart at its most congenial. The contrast here between Bohm's sparkling Mozart, both elegant and vigorous, and the much smoother view taken by Karajan with the same orchestra, works almost entirely in Bohm's favour. Interpretatively, these are performances very much of their time, with exposition repeats the exception (as in the first movement of No. 40) and with Minuets taken at what now seem lumbering speeds. Yet slow movements flow easily, and finales bounce along infectiously. Consistently they convey the happy ease of Bohm in Mozart, even if the recording is beefy by today's standards, not as transparent as one now expects in this repertory, whether on modern or period instruments.
After the success of Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro, René Jacobs' CD recording of this centrepiece of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy offered us his reflections on Classical opera and garnered serious acclaim worldwide. Performed at the Innsbruck festival in August 2006 and filmed in Baden-Baden, this production is nourished by his thoughts on Don Giovanni as taboo-breaker but still respects Mozart's intentions as closely as possible.
In the documentary Looking for Don Giovanni, the director Nayo Titzin follows the creation of this production in the search for musical truth.
First things first: if you're seeing a picture of this disc on the site of an online retailer, be aware that it contains the Mass in C minor, K. 427, not the "Mass in C," promised by the cover, which would more likely be the "Coronation" Mass in C major, K. 337. It is always a shame when designers are given power of diktat over content editors. The so-called "Great" Mass in C minor is one of Mozart's most ambitious and most problematical works. There was no known immediate stimulus for its composition. Did Mozart begin writing it out of one of his rare religious impulses, on the occasion of his marriage to his bride Constanze? Out of his growing devotion to Freemasonry? Was it his first major exercise in applying the lessons in Bach-style counterpoint he had been receiving at the intellectual salons of the Baron van Swieten in Vienna? Or was it meant as a showpiece for singer Constanze with its killer soprano arias? It was all of these things and none of them, for Mozart never finished the mass.
Beethoven called Mozart's Requiem "wild and terrible", and that's what we get in Harnoncourt's new recording. Ominous dread hangs from every note of the dark opening measures, the Rex tremendae and Confutatis are driven with terrifying strength, and the supplications of the Lacrimosa, with their weeping stabbings of the orchestra, are freighted with emotional power. The Tuba mirum duet of bass soloist and trombone has a beauty almost never achieved in other readings. Nor does Harnoncourt overstep the stylistic boundaries of this classical-era work; rather, the intensity is heightened for being in the idiom of its time.