Mozart in C Minor
Mass in C Minor
Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Stuttgart Bach Collegium, soloists; Helmuth Rilling, conductor
Thanks to Amadeus, everyone knows Mozart died with pen in hand. But the Requiem isn’t the only thing Mozart left unfinished. He also wrote little more than sketches for much of his great C minor Mass of 1783. In this 250th-birthday year comes this new recording of the Mass completed by scholar and pianist Robert Levin, who’s also finished the Requiem.
Besides the Mass most listeners know and love, the recording includes nearly 25 minutes of music absent from the version traditionally performed today. Much of the new material fills out the Credo for which Mozart only drafted suggestions. Featured here are a dark, formally developed fugue on Crucifixus, with vocal soloists; a jubilant Et Resurrexit with brass; a strangely perky tenor aria for Et in Spiritum Sanctum; Et Unam Sanctam, a short declamation for chorus; and Et Vitam Venturi, a chorus developing a boldly profiled theme toward a rousing Amen. Levin’s version ends with an exquisite Agnus Dei aria for soprano soloist, tenderly performed by Juliane Banse, culminating in an energetic Dona Nobis Pacem.
Mozart fans long accustomed to the regular version are likely to find the additions jarring and possibly not cohesive. Still, it’s hard to fault Levin’s research (explained at welcome length in the ample program notes), and the project’s implications are fascinating to consider.—Zachary Lewis