Mozart’s Trinitatis Mass

W.A. Mozart, Mass No. 7 in C Major “Missa in honorem Sanctissimae Trinitatis” (Trinitatis Mass), K 167 (1773)

W.A. Mozart (b.Salzburg1756; d.Vienna1791) composed the Missa in honorem Sanctissimae Trinitatis (K. 167) at age 17. He dated it June 1773 and possibly intended it for Trinity Sunday, which occurred on June 6 of that year. However, British musicologist, Stanley Sadie (1930-2005), as well American musicologist Neal Zaslaw (1939- ), both suggested that Mozart composed this Mass for Salzburg’s beautiful Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church) – hence its nickname, Trinitatis Mass. They doubt that the Mass was written for the city’s cathedral, because it did not meet the strict time constraints mandated by the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Hieronymous Graf Colloredo, for his cathedral church. However, the Trinitatis Mass was composed by Mozart as a fully orchestrated, wholly choral Mass, without vocal solo arias, thereby making it neither a missa brevis nor a missa solemnis, but arguably a missa longa. A more festive orchestrated Mass for minor solemnities, such as Trinity Sunday. It was from this vantage point that German-American musicologist Alfred Einstein (1880-1952) opined that Mozart composed the Mass without solo arias, just so that the Mass could meet the requirements of the Prince-Archbishop. In any case, listen for the trumpets, the numerous “sinfonías” used as preludes and interludes within movements, and the showy contrapuntal fugues in the final sections of the Gloria (Cum Sancto Spiritu) and the Credo (Et vitam venturi).      (31:00)

Mozart’s Trinitatis Mass, K 167 is conducted by the Chorale & Orchestra music director Dr. Robert L. Peterson. Mary E. LeVoir is the organist. Soloists are Patricia Kent, soprano; Jocelyn Kalajian, contralto; John deCausmeaker, tenor; and Jon Nordstrom, bass. The Schola Cantorum is directed by Paul W. LeVoir. The Trinitatis Mass was first presented by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale & Orchestra as part of its 1986-87 Orchestra Mass season.                             

Recommended Listening:

  • Mozart: Five Masses / Münchinger: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & Vienna State Opera Chorus / 1997 / Decca 4550322

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