Vesperae solennes de confessore (Mozart)

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Vesperae solennes de confessore
Solemn Vespers by W. A. Mozart
Salzburger Dom.jpg
Salzburg Cathedral, for which the music was composed
Catalogue K. 339
Language Latin
Composed 1780 (1780): Salzburg
Movements 6
Vocal SATB choir and soloists
  • brass and timpani
  • violins
  • continuo

Vesperae solennes de confessore (Solemn vespers of the confessor), K. 339, is a sacred choral composition, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1780. It is scored for SATB choir and soloists, violin I, violin II, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones colla parte, 2 timpani, and basso continuo (violoncello, double bass, and organ, with optional bassoon obbligato).

The setting was composed for liturgical use in the Salzburg Cathedral.[1] The title "de confessore" was not Mozart's own, and was added by a later hand to his manuscript. It suggests that the work was intended for vespers held on a specific day on the liturgical calendar of saints ("confessors"); however, the saint in question has not been conclusively established.[2] This was Mozart's final choral work composed for the cathedral.[3]

Structurally, it is very similar to Vesperae solennes de Dominica (K. 321), composed in 1779. The setting is divided into 6 movements; as in Dominica, a setting of the Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri) concludes all movements, each recapitulating the opening themes. The first three psalms are scored in a bold, exuberant manner, contrasting with the strict, stile antico counterpoint of the a cappella fourth psalm,[3] and the tranquility of the fifth movement. The Magnificat sees a return to the style of the opening settings.

  1. Dixit Allegro vivace, C major, 3/4
  2. Confitebor Allegro, E-flat major, common time
  3. Beatus vir Allegro vivace, G major, 3/4
  4. Laudate pueri Allegro, D minor, cut common time
  5. Laudate Dominum Andante, F major, 6/8
    Mozart departs from the structure of K. 321 in this movement. The earlier setting of Laudate Dominum is a highly melismatic soprano solo, with no choral interlude. In K. 339, the soprano solo is much simpler; the choir quietly enters at the conclusion of the psalm with the Gloria Patri, and the soloist rejoins them at the Amen.
    This movement is well-known outside the context of the larger work, and is often performed in isolation.[4]
  6. Magnificat Andante, C major, common time
    —"Et exultavit..." Allegro, C major, common time


  1. ^ "About: Vesperae solemnes de confessore (Vespers), for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, K.339". Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  2. ^ J. Frank Henderson (2006). "Mozart's Vesperae Solennes de Confessore: Identification of the Saint and Date" (PDF). Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Mark Aaron Humphrey (2006). The Stylistic and Historical Significance of Mozart's Mass in C Major K. 337. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Michael Steinberg (2005). Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide. p. 211. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 

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