It is not often that incomplete works enjoy great popularity. And it is even rarer that a torso should exercise such great importance in music history, but this is the case with Mozart’s Great Mass, K. 427. The C minor Mass is always spoken of as if it were complete: it is spoken of with reverence, eyes looking towards Heaven, lost in the beauty of the music, transported to celestial heights. Mozart combines the compositional style of the Baroque masters with the more modern style of the Viennese Classic. Lofty arioso sections alternate with tremendous choral sections for up to eight parts whose splendid and spectacular timbre broke the bounds of tradition and set new standards for the genre.
This Mass is, of course, not merely performed but celebrated, as the Berlin RSO under its Principal Conductor Ferenc Fricsay has so admirably demonstrated in this recording. Precise entries, strict tempi, a polished orchestral timbre and vocal soloists so brilliant one might think they were standing in one’s own front room lend this recording top marks for musical quality and repertoire value.