Sunday, February 12, 2006

Laudate Dominum

Today is Sunday and playing on the iPod is Mozart's Laudate Dominum from "Vesperae solennes de confessore", K. 339. As with his Requiem, Mozart blesses us with a glimpse of the Divine.

Laudate Dominum is a religious piece inspired by Psalm 116:
1 Laudate Dominum omnes gentes laudate eum omnes populi ( O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people).
2 Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia eius et veritas Domini manet in saeculum (
For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever).

"In his last years at Salzburg Mozart wrote two vespers cycles for use at the cathedral, the Vesperae de Dominica, K. 321, in 1779 and the Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339, in 1780. Both use the same liturgical texts - Psalms 109 to 112, Psalm 116 and the Magnificat canticle, each of these six parts concluding with the doxology. The key sequences in K.339 is quite varied (C major, E flat major, G major, d minor, F major, C major), and the individual movements are independent enough that they could be - and were - performed separately. The D minor fugue subject of the "Laudate pueri", spiked by a prominent diminished seventh, joines a venerable tradition of learned contrapuntal exercises that will later embrace the double fuge of the Kyrie in Mozart's Requiem. Here is the sober stile antico counterpart, sung by the full chorus throught, forms an effective foil to the ravishing 6/8 melody for solo soprano of the next movement, the F major "Laudate Dominum". The modern, secular pedigree of this aria with chorus is already palpable in its broad orchestral ritornello, a feature found in no other movement in the Vespers." -- Thomas Bauman & Martha Feldman

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