Heaven in Walt Disney Concert Hall
May 10, 2022•
As someone who attended the LA Philharmonic’s recent performance of Mozart’s “Great Mass in C Minor” at the Disney Concert Hall, I found Stefano Rebeggiani’s review (“Music to move the soul,” April 22 issue) to be a proper and inspired response to voices and musicians who touched the heavens that night.
The “Kyrie” especially fascinated me. I once sang in Haydn’s Mass, and the “Kyrie” in it feels angry, even tortured. The first syllable is almost spat out: “Ku!” (ryie). With Mozart, the “Kyrie,” which was sung at the piece’s premiere in Salzburg by the composer’s new wife, Constanze, climbs ecstatically like a fountain. The soprano’s solo climbs, too, delicately and pure, so much so that the “mercy” seems to have wings, taking over the Lord himself. Then women in the choir enter, and then the men answer, as both sides are joined in a complicated and gorgeous interweaving until the two words, “Lord” and “Mercy,” elide: kyri-eh/eh-lison. In the ear they become one.
When we hear the great plea of Mozart’s “Credo,” we feel inside how desperate we were the times we didn’t believe, how near we have come to losing it all, and how precious it is. And that is exactly why the “Sanctus” proclaimed with great voices of the giant choir that night is an utter, tears-inducing rescue — incomplete or not.
The unfinished Mass was dedicated to Mozart’s new wife, whose home in Vienna was called “God’s eye.” Perhaps Mozart knew marriage is holy, no matter how it progresses or ends. (Constanze died nine years after they were married, four of their six children gone as infants.)
Incidentally, my own wedding day was Wolfgang and Constanze’s: Aug. 4.
— Gregory Orfalea, Tarzana