MOZART: Church Sonatas

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) Complete Church Sonatas

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the onlysurviving son and second surviving child of Leopold Mozart, later Vice-Kapellmeister inthe musical establishment of the Prince- Archbishop. His father soon realised theexceptional talent of his son, which he carefully nurtured, thereby sacrificing his owncareer as a composer and violinist. Mozart and his older sister Anna-Maria, a giftedkeyboard-player, toured Europe, amazing audiences by their musical precocity, whileLeopold Mozart saw to it that his son profited from the experience that travel couldbring. Journeys to Italy followed, and there the young Mozart was able to satisfy theambition that any composer of the day would have by the composition of operas. By 1772,however, childhood had come to an end, and Mozart, now sixteen, was faced by the necessityof employment; now under a new archbishop in Salzburg, a man of modernising tendencies inmatters liturgical, who nevertheless retained a very clear idea of w hat was due to himfrom members of his court musical establishment. A remaining obligation in Milan wasfulfilled, with the opera Lucio Silla, butfrom now on opportunities for travel were more restricted. In 1777 Mozart, refused leaveof absence, resigned from his position as Konzertmeister in the archiepiscopal service,seeking employment at first in Mannheim and then in Paris, but to no purpose. By 1779 hewas with mutual reluctance in the service of the archbishop once more, this time as courtorganist. Matters came to a head after the success of his opera Idomeneo in Munich and asubsequent visit to Vienna in the entourage of the arch bishop. The denial ofopportunities for performance there led to a final quarrel and Mozart's dismissal. For thelast ten years of his life he remained in Vienna in precarious independence, taking adowerless wife, and attracting initial attention as a composer, performer and teacher,until the novelty wore off, and audiences sought new attractions. At the time of his deathin 1791 Mozart's fortunes seemed about to take a turn for the better, with the success ofthe German opera The Magic Flute and the possibility of employment at the Cathedral.

The seventeen brief Church Sonatas or Epistle Sonatas werewritten for use in Salzburg between the years 1772 and 1780. The first group of three, K.

67 - 69, were written in the former year and are scored, as are the majority of theseshort pieces, for two violins, bass and organ. The brevity of these single-movement worksis explained by the new archbishop's insistence that the entire Mass should not last morethan three-quarters of an hour, an abbreviation that Mozart himself deplored, as weunderstand from a letter on the subject written in 1776 to his former mentor, PadreMartini, in Bologna. The second of the group, K. 68, in B flat major, introduces a briefelement of contrapuntal imitation in a second subject, the whole in an abridged sonataform, found also in the third of these sonatas, K. 69, in D major. The same year has beenproposed as the year of composition of the sonatas K. 144 and K. 145, similar in form andscoring, and explicable by the fact that Mozart was now employed as Konzertmeister of theCathedral orchestra and was obliged to spend five months of 1772 at home, before returningto Italy towards the end of the year.

The following six sonatas, K. 212, K. 241, K. 224, K. 225, K.

244, K. 245 and K. 274, also scored for two violins, bass and organ, have been crediblyascribed to the years 1776 and 1777 in Salzburg. K. 263, in C major, includes a pair oftrumpets in its scoring, adding ceremonial emphasis. It was written in December 1776. K.

278, in C major, written in March/April1777, is scored for two violins, cello, bass, pairsof oboes, trumpets and drums and organ.

On his return from Paris early in 1779 Mozart assumed morespecific cathedral duties. The Epistle Sonata K. 329,in C major, is scored for strings without viola, and pairs of oboes, Frenchhorns, trumpets and drums, with a more elaborate part for the organ, which he playedhimself. K. 328 returns to simpler orchestration, two violins, bass and organ, theinstrumentation of the last of the series, K. 336, written in March 1780, but now with asolo organ part, as weIl as a ripieno organ basso continuo.

Janos Sebestyen

Janos Sebestyen was born in Budapest in 1931 and studied atthe Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. In 1971 he established the harpsichord department ofthe Academy, which he has headed since that date. His career as a performer and teacherhas taken him as far afield as Japan, his reputation increased by his very successfulrecordings for a number of record companies, both in Hungary and abroad. A number ofimportant awards in Hungary have added distinction, including in 1984 the title Cavali?¿reof the Italian Republic for services to music.

Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra

The Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra, named after thedistinguished 19th century Hungarian composer, was formed in 1985 by fourteen students ofthe Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest. The artistic director of the orchestra, whichplays without a conductor, is the violinist Lili Aldor, a member of the Ferenc LisztChamber Orchestra. The orchestra has a repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to thetwentieth century and has won praise in Hungary and abroad for the youthful energy andbrilliance of its performance.

Item number 8550512
Barcode 4891030505124
Release date 12/01/1999
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Sebestyen, Janos
Sebestyen, Janos
Composers Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Orchestras Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra
Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra
Producers Toth, Ibolya
Toth, Ibolya
Disc: 1
Church Sonatas (Complete)
1 No. 14 in C major, K. 278
2 No. 13 in G major, K. 274
3 No. 15 in C major, K. 328
4 No. 11 In D Major, K. 245
5 No. 17 in C major, K. 336
6 No. 8 in A major, K. 225
7 No. 3 in D major, K. 69
8 No. 9 in G major, K. 241
9 Church Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, K. 67, "Epist
10 No. 12 in C major, K. 263
11 No. 5 in F major, K. 145
12 No. 2 in B flat major, K. 68
13 No. 7 in F major, K. 224
14 No. 16 in C major, K. 329
15 No. 4 in D major, K. 144
16 No. 10 in F major, K. 244
17 No. 6 in B flat major, K. 212
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