Mozart: Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento in B-flat Major, K. 125
Hieronymus Joseph Franz de Paula Graf Colloredo von Wallsee und Melz is now the Archbishop of Salzburg and Mozart, as still having the church title of Cavalier, is now under the employ of the new Archbishop.
Colloredo, with considerable pressure for the Imperial Court in Vienna, was elected to the new Archbishop of Salzburg position, as Colloredo dutifully implemented reforms as dictated by Emperor Joseph II. Under his reign pilgrimages and superstitious practices were banned, processions were restricted, church decoration was limited and musical settings of the mass were shortened. Also, many Latin hymns were replaced with German hymns. Due to these changes, the Archbishop was greatly resented by the citizens of Salzburg. This resentment would last until Colloredo fled Salzburg on December 12, 1801 to evade the advancing French troops under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte.
While Colloredo was ultimately successful in enforcing Joseph II’s changes. Colloredo was described as unpopular with the citizens of Salzburg, extremely autocratic with a dictatorial attitude that provoked hostility in the cathedral chapter and of civil servants.
However, Colloredo is well known in musical history as a patron and employer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He did, however, become exceptionally annoyed with Mozart’s frequent absences and after a number of arguments, Mozart’s position as Church Cavalier was terminated with the words “Let him go then, I don’t need him.”
Colloredo was a devoted fan of Mozart. He not only commissioned several works but he also played the violin in the church orchestra whenever a work by Mozart was being performed.
“Litany of the Venerable Sacrament of the Altar in B-flat” was commissioned, composed and performed in March 1772.
This work is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, mixed chorus, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, strings and organ.
This performance by the CMD Philharmonic of Paris is conducted by Dominique Beaulieu