Klassik  Oper
Franz Raml & German Mozart Orchestra W.A. Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte Messe OC 916 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 916
Release date05/02/2008
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

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      Description hide

      The C major Mass after Così fan tutte is the result of a “parody practice” customary at that time, in which secular musical works were given sacred texts. In this case, an unknown editor took various numbers from Così and made them into a cantata mass in around 1800. This mass stands out from a whole series of similar surviving works because of its exceptional stylistic fidelity and clever editing. The work can be found in the archive of the abbey Rot a.d. Rot (today the Swabian State Music Archive, University of Tübingen). It was passed down from the hands of the last abbot Nikolaus Betscher. The German Mozart Orchestra was founded by Franz Raml in 2006. It has specialized in the interpretation of works from Viennese Classicism on period instruments.

      The Mass in C Major based on “Così fan tutte”

      The source for our performance The Mass K. App. 235 e is an anonymous arrangement by a musician writing around 1800, that is, it is a parody using music from Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte. Several copies of this arrangement have come down to us, including those extant in the Berlin State Library, the Florence Conservatory and in the Mönchsroth monastery archive, which is today called Rot a.d. Rot. The latter is a copy with instrumental parts in the hand of the monastery’s last abbot, Nikolaus Betscher, who was in close contact with Michael Haydn and may well have been his student. Betscher wrote numerous sacred compositions, from Lenten songs for few voices up to a Missa solemnis with choir, soli, orchestra and organ.

      In the quite extensive music archive of the Rot a.d. Rot monastery, which is preserved today in the Swabian State Music Archive at the University of Tübingen, there is no other work by Mozart. Of the better known composers writing around 1800, only Joseph and Michael Haydn are represented, and only with a few works. The surrounding Benedictine monasteries of Ochsenhausen and Ottobeuren, on the other hand, contain numerous copies of Mozart’s sacred music.

      Because no further works of Betscher’s were entered into the Rot a.d. Rot archive after the secularization in 1803, the composition of the Così-Mass can be dated at about 1800.

      Parody in music

      The technique designated as ‘parody’ has been known from the Renaissance on. It refers to the practice of taking secular songs or contrapuntal compositions and replacing their texts with sacred ones. The number of voices, compositional techniques and/or rhythms may also be changed. In addition to the numerous parody masses from Dufay to Lasso, famous examples include Hans Leo Hassler’s German choral song Mein Gmüt ist mir verwirret, whose upper voice became the source of the chorale O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, which – except for the role of the evangelist and the chorales – consists of retexted, previously existing secular cantata movements.

      Musical parody around 1800

      After the end of the Baroque period, which – in addition to parody and contrafact was also familiar with the pasticcio, or taking arias from different operas and putting them together to form a “new” opera – parody was found only rarely towards the end of the 18th century. Even though Mozart himself was the author of an outstanding example of this, with his Mass in C Minor, K. 427 and the cantata Davide penitente K. 469, this is a sole instance of a rearrangement of a previously existing work.

      Audiences during Mozart’s life apparently enjoyed hearing opera arias with sacred texts in the church – e.g. as the offertory (like the Offertory of our program “Laudibus coelum sonet”, which was actually the soprano aria “Deh se piacer” from La clemenza di Tito, K. 621). In the early years of the Romantic period, even instrumental works were texted out of enthusiasm for Mozart – e.g. an offertory for choir, violin, organ and strings, K. App. B to 370 a, based on a wind serenade. In our case, however, the Così-Mass is an arrangement of secular to sacred vocal music in which an abundance of the most varied and intelligently used techniques can be found.

      The arranger, whom we do not know by name, was highly tasteful in his use of Mozart’s musical “quarry”. This is possibly why Abbot Nikolaus Betscher copied specifically this arrangement and not a Don Giovannior Magic Flute-Mass, of which there are also examples. The character of the music selected fits the respective Mass text very well, and almost always corresponds to the musical techniques customarily used in masses composed in Mozart’s time. In the Sanctus, for example (“Dove son” from Scene XVI, Act 1), one hears a dotted rhythm throughout, as in the Sanctus of the Coronation Mass, followed by a songlike Benedictus (“Secondate, aurette amiche” from Scene IV, Act 2). The light-footed Dona nobis (“Fortunato l’uom” from the finale of the last act) is the kind of spirited “last-call-audience-rouser” type of movement often found as the last movement of masses from the Viennese Classic.

      The primary goal of the arranger was creating a Missa Solemnis in C Major in the form of a cantata mass. This made many transpositions necessary, e.g. in the Kyrie (the D Major terzettino “Soave sia il vento” from Act 1). The Christe used circa 50 measures from the duet “Ah guarda sorella” from Act 1. Here, however, the section from the opera is used which was composed for only one voice (!). The arranger has taken this voice and composed a second voice to accompany it, and formally rounded out the entire section as well. In the opera, the second vocal line enters only afterwards, and the duet leads into an allegro.

      The instrumentation is often changed as well: clarinets are never used, obbligato soli for two bassoons are often given to divisi violas.

      In the Benedictus, strings are added to Mozart’s pure wind writing. The original rich wind setting is also thinned out, for example, in the Dona nobis, in favor of the vocal lines.

      Some of the articulation and bowings in the arrangement are extremely different from those used in the opera.

      The Gloria uses a type of pasticcio technique. The arranger took individual short sections from ensembles and put them together again anew, as they were needed to fit the text (Scene IX and XV from Act 1). The most amazing effect is the strategy of using the aria “Smanie implacabili” not in the original racing allegro agitato tempo, but in a serene andante, to the text of Gratias agimus tibi. In addition, the arranger has taken two measures from Mozart’s model and put them together as a sort of “big measure” and transposed the whole piece from E-flat Major to F Major.

      The first 14 measures of the Gloria as well as most of the Credo were newly composed by our arranger. In our score, we find a total of 42 pages by the arranger, contrasted with 91 pages by Mozart. Motivic borrowings from Mozart’s music are often recognizable in these newly composed sections. Sixteenthnote triplets in the violins, for example, form the main motive of the Credo. The arranger took these from the Gratias agimus tibi, i.e. Mozart’s aria model. This ensures clear motivic homogeneity.


      Throughout the history of sacred polyphonic music, there were any number of attempts to forbid entry of secular characteristics or elements into this music, e.g. Pope Benedict XIV’s bull “Annus qui” from 1749. From the mid-19th century on, the Order of St. Cecilia favored unaccompanied vocal music of the late Renaissance, the so-called classical vocal polyphony, in the Catholic Church; they condemned sacred music of the Viennese Classic as too operatic – and in general, too profane.

      Regarding the subject of “secular” or “sacred”, Evangelical composer and Mozart contemporary Justin Heinrich Knecht (Biberach 1752-1815) wrote in the preface to his 23rd Psalm for Soli, Choir and Orchestra (not published in Leipzig until 1783), “I finally come to the necessary characteristics for a composer of church music. Some have believed that whoever is too dry for the theater is just right for the church. […] A composer of sacred music must have many years of manifold experience as well as deep and comprehensive knowledge of theory, but above all, be full of devout religious sensibilities (!). […] He must be a Christian and a virtuoso in one person. Religion must give art its hand and inspire the compositions with its own sublime soul.”

      Today, we again have the opportunity to hear and judge arrangements like the Così- Mass with fresh, unbiased ears. Certainly, there may well be a problematic level in the area of arrangements of Mozart’s works, i.e. when a new text just doesn’t want to fit the music, or when the musical model is so well known in its original version that the listener simultaneously mentally hears the original secular text.

      In my opinion, Abbot Betscher has made a good selection, aesthetically speaking; Così fan tutte does not have the kind of famous arias that various other operas do, but does have many ensembles whose structure is easily adapted to a mass with solo voices.

      The choices made by the anonymous arranger, on the other hand, show knowledge of the “deep and comprehensive knowledge of [the] theory” of church music and do justice to the religious sensibilities expected at the time in sacred musical compositions.

      March K. 408 /3

      and Jupiter Symphony K. 551 According to J.G. Walther’s Musikalisches Lexikon from 1732, a March is not only a military piece, but “a serious, but still fresh and heartening melody [… and] has much in common with an Entrée.” This particularly festive character was used, for example, by Luigi Cherubini in his Marche religieuse, composed for the communion of Karl X during his unction mass. We also find marches in Handel oratorios and orchestral works; they were earlier also written purely for the organ, and can be found, for example, in the Ochsenhausen organ book from 1735. The heyday of the organ march is 19th century Italy with composers such as Giuseppe Gherardeschi, Padre Davide da Bergamo or Vincenzo Petrali. But processional marches are still well loved today in rural areas of Southern Germany on Corpus Christi Day.

      The occasion for which Mozart wrote his March K. 408/3 is unknown. Because it has come down to us as an individual work, and not in context, e.g. in an opera, it serves here as a festive opening to the Mass.

      The last of Mozart’s 41 symphonies, the Great C Major Symphony, later named the “Jupiter”, is considered to be the apex of Mozart’s symphonic work along with the symphonies in E-flat Major K. 543 and G Minor K. 550. All three were written in 1788.

      Absolute beauty, classical balance of themes and supreme contrapuntal technique are combined in these works with emotionality and structures of utmost clarity.

      While the first movement has the character of an overture, the second movement, “Cantabile” has almost an early Romantic flair with its muted strings. The Menuett is unsurpassed in formal clarity and is characterized by unexpected dynamic changes. The last movement – a fusion of sonata form and fugue as Mozart already used in his string quartets – almost sounds, with its compressed compositional density, like the definitive close of two epochs that were decisive for Mozart’s life: the baroque and the classic.

      Franz Raml
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler

      The interpreters

      German Mozart Orchestra

      The German Mozart Orchestra is an international symphony orchestra that performs on period instruments. It was founded by its leader Franz Raml in 2006 in order to perform operas, symphonies, concertos and sacred music from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven as well as on into works of the early Romantic.

      Its debut CD with Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and the premiere recording of the Così fan tutte-Mass is appearing in 2008 on the OehmsClassics label. The German Mozart Orchestra toured with this program in South Tirol, Italy and Upper Swabia during the 2006 Pentecost season.

      Programs with music of the late Renaissance and Baroque continue to be performed by the Hassler Consort under the direction of Franz Raml. Numerous CDs and radio recordings document this ensemble’s work.

      Franz Raml

      Franz Raml was born in 1964 in Straubing, Germany. After completing secondary school, he studied Catholic Sacred Music and organ at the Detmold and Munich Academies of Music.

      As a scholarship recipient of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, he then studied for three years with Ton Koopman in Amsterdam, completing his years there in 1990 with a degree in baroque organ at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag.

      In addition to his activities as a conductor, he concertizes as an organist and harpsichordist as well as accompanying on the pianoforte. Franz Raml also lectures and gives courses as an organist and conductor on historical performance practice. In 1998, he was awarded the Special Prize of the International Lake Constance Conference. In 2002, the Bavarian Radio Broadcasting Corporation did a portrait of him. In 2003, he was appointed head of the international Organ Academy of Upper Swabia.

      Siri Karoline Thornhill

      Siri Karoline Thornhill, a Norwegian soprano born in England, began her vocal studies in her home city of Stavanger, Norway. Scholarships from Norway enabled her to continue in Den Haag with such teachers as Diane Forlano.

      Her active concert and opera activities at home and abroad include repertoire ranging from early music to that of the 21st century. She has performed as soloist under the direction of Phillip Herreweghe, Ivor Bolton, Thomas Hengelbrock, Peter Neumann, Michael Schneider, Winfried Toll, Andreas Spering, Phillip Pickett at international festivals including in Göttingen, Karlsruhe, Halle, Brühl, Berlin, Lucerne, Amsterdam and Vienna.

      Ursula Eittinger

      Ursula Eittinger was born in Ingolstadt, Germany. She began her vocal studies at the Detmold Academy of Music, completing them with excellence in 1990.

      She regularly sings at international festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Proms in London, the Kissinger Kultursommer, the international Early Music Festival in Cracow and at the Lake Constance Festival (Bach program with the Hassler Consort).

      In addition to her concert activities, Ursula Eittinger also sings on the opera stage (incl. in Ulm, Bregenz, Basel and the Hamburg State Opera). She is a regular guest in the Freiburg, Kiel and Dortmund opera houses.

      Hubert Nettinger

      Hubert Nettinger was born in Landshut, Germany. He was a member of the Regensburg Domspatzen as a boy and had his first vocal training with Richard Brünner. He later studied privately with Peter Wetzler.

      In 1994, he was asked to join the internationally renowned vocal ensemble “Die Singphoniker”. Parallel to his work with this ensemble, he is in demand as a soloist and interpreter of sacred repertoire.

      As a student of Christoph Prégardien, Hubert Nettinger has also made a name for himself as a Lied singer; numerous concert tours have taken him to France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the USA. In 1997, he was a prizewinner at the international competition of the Konzertgesellschaft Munich as a “lyric tenor”; in 1998 he was awarded the prize of the Bavarian Volksstiftung.

      Stefan Geyer

      Stefan Geyer was born in Ulm, Germany. He studied voice at the Karlsruhe Academy of Music with Prof. Kern and in the Lied classes of Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll. In 1994/95 he was one of Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau’s master-class students in Berlin. In 1992, Stefan Geyer won the international “Franz Schubert and the Music of the 20th Century” competition in Graz, along with his piano accompanist Heike Dorothée Allardt. He was also awarded prizes at the “Meistersinger Competition” in Nuremberg, the international “Robert Schumann Competition” in Zwickau and the international “Hugo Wolf Competition” in Stuttgart.

      Stefan Geyer is equally in demand as a Lied interpreter and oratorio singer. Concert engagements have taken him to such venues as the Festival van Vlaanderen in Bruges, the Telemann Festival in Madgeburg, Early Music Festival Stuttgart and Festa da Musica in Lisbon. Radio and television recordings as well as CD productions, e.g. with Musica Antiqua Köln under Reinhard Goebel, document his work. He currently holds a vocal teaching post at the Karlsruhe Music Academy.

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
        • 1.March C major KV 408/3.03:58
      • “Così fan tutte” Mass C major KV App. 235e
        • 2.Kyrie06:25
        • 3.Gloria07:52
        • 4.Credo08:04
        • 5.Offertorium “Laudibus coelum sonet”05:15
        • 6.Sanctus02:27
        • 7.Benedictus02:51
        • 8.Agnus Dei01:57
        • 9.Dona nobis01:50
      • Symphony C major KV 551 “Jupiter”
        • 10.Allegro vivace10:54
        • 11.Andante cantabile10:01
        • 12.Menuetto / Allegretto03:53
        • 13.Molto allegro08:52
      • Total:01:14:19