Mozart's Salzburg Church Music

Mozart's response to the idea of making church music was a little like the average child's reaction to being told to eat his spinach. And much fuss has been made over just how much Mozart hated having to write mostly church music during his time in Salzburg.

Mozart memorial in Salzburg

hide captionMozart may have had mixed feelings about Salzburg, but they built a memorial to him anyhow.

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But as the teenage organist for the Salzburg Cathedral, the prodigy had a whole cast of great musicians around him. He wrote a set of mini-concertos for organ and orchestra, including one of the later church sonatas, the Sonata in C, K. 329.

Most of Mozart's church music is fairly ordinary. But not the Regina Coeli, K. 276, nor the Church Sonata in C Major, K. 328.

While employed in Salzburg, Mozart wrote a dozen masses. And even after he escaped to Vienna — and was free to write whatever he wanted — he began work on another religious work — the great C Minor Mass, with its stunning Kyrie. And the Coronation Mass lends a glimpse of Mozart's operatic aspirations.

Still later came other great sacred works, including the Dominican Vespers, K. 321; the Exsultate, Jubilate of 1773; and the Ave Verum Corpus.

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