Mozart & Neukomm
Mozart: Coronation Mass
The coronation here is of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Leopold II, as King of Bohemia, which took place in Prague in 1791. Mozart wrote this mass 12 years earlier, in 1779. Salieri, then Court Kapellmeister, selected and conducted it for the coronation. This mass was the occasion for Mozart to compose a solemn grand mass which would mark a new beginning for religious music. He had learnt a lot on his travels; through this work and without modifying the usual frameworks, he wanted to share with his contemporaries everything he had learnt while travelling, to Mannheim for instance, and how he intended to use it.
Note that in the Agnus Dei of this mass the soprano’s solo is very close to the Contessa’s aria “Dove sono I bei momenti” of The Marriage of Figaro, composed 7 years later.
The Resurrection has never been performed in France, it was created in London and performed once with 3 soloists and a choir, after the plan of Handel’s 1708 oratorio La Resurrezione. In coproduction with the Festival Classica of Saint-Lambert in Canada, this is a new occasion to hear Neukomm. For some time now, Jean-Claude Malgoire has been striving to revive the memory of this Frenchman by adoption, born in Salzburg, pupil of Michael and Joseph Haydn, who composed almost 2000 works, most of which are kept in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Versailles has been under the spell of Sigismund Neukomm since the Requiem in Memory of Louis XVI was executed in the Royal Chapel and all look forward to this concert. In The Resurrection, the audience can appreciate the strong presence of the choir, which comments what is said by the singers, as in all oratorios.
R. Devos Municipal Theatre, Tourcoing (BE)
Royal Chapel, Versailles (FR)