Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Missa Brevis KV258 “Piccolomini”
This missa brevis (“brief mass”) was clearly intended for an important occasion, with its choruses and parts written for high trumpets – but it’s not known what the occasion might have been! Sometimes called the “Spaur Mass” (hypothesizing that it was written to honor Count Ignaz Joseph von Spaur), the title ‘Piccolomini’ doesn’t clarify things much more, since it likely refers to the short duration of the work.
One thing that is certain is that this Mass is one of three composed in November and December of 1776. Mozart was living with his family in Salzburg, intermittently making lengthy trips to Munich and Vienna looking for a good job as a composer – and he was writing prolifically. The Piccolomini Mass is written in the bright and pure key of C Major, as were his other Missa Brevis works. In keeping with the economical requirements for a missa brevis, Mozart moves through the material swiftly, faithful to the text but ‘through-composing’ the movements, avoiding repetition. The result is a skillfully crafted mass setting, hinting at some of his brilliant inventiveness that appears in his operas.