Mozart – Mass in C Minor & Solemn Vespers – April 8th 2017

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster starting at 7.30 p.m., conducted by David Murray.

Soloists : Laurie Ashworth (Soprano), Samantha Price (Mezzo-soprano), Richard Pinkstone (Tenor), and Alexander Robin Baker (Baritone).

Tickets £14.00 for Nave (£8 concessions for full-time students and on income related benefits) or £8.00 (Gallery – limited view). Accompanied under 16s free. Tickets are available from members of the Society, at the door, or on-line from – who also have a direct link on the home page of this website.


MOZART: Mass in C minor K.427 “Great Mass”

The Mass in C minor is by far the most ambitious and elaborate of Mozart’s church works.  Hence it came to be known as the ‘Great Mass’.  It is full of Mozart’s very individual capacity for tenderness, humanity and compassion.

Mozart began work on the Mass in C minor in the summer of 1782.  The Mass was written to honour his wife Constanze.  When it was first performed, in Salzburg in October 1783, Constanze herself sang one of the soprano solo parts.

The work was left incomplete – there is only part of the Credo and no Agnus Dei.  It is likely that, for the first performance, he filled in the gaps with music from other compositions.  Others have tried to complete it – our performance will only be of Mozart’s music.

MOZART: Solemn Vespers K339

The ‘Vesperae Solennes de Confessor’, written in 1780, is a jubilant and finely crafted sequence of the traditional psalm settings for Vespers. Mozart chose to set Psalms 110, 113, 117 and the Magnificat.

The presence of trumpets and drums suggests that the score was intended for use on the eve (or possibly on the day) of a Festum Pallii, an important feast-day in Salzburg.

As you will hear, ‘Solennes’ (solemn) does not, in this context, mean gloomy or dismal! Rather it means ‘celebrated with full liturgical ceremony’ and to the eternal delight of the listener, Mozart’s settings invoke the other original meanings of ‘solemn’- sublime and awe-inspiring.