The capital cities of Central Europe (once the Austro-Hungarian Empire) were centers of great artistic achievement for many centuries. For the Cathedral choir’s Lenten Concert this year, I have chosen three distinctly different approaches to penitential music from some of Central Europe’s most important composers. We begin in Salzburg with Mozart’s Litaniae Laurentanae B.M.V. (written when he was 15), a setting of a penitential litany to the Virgin Mary for choir and strings. Also in Salzburg was Johann Michael Haydn, Josef’s younger brother. An early friend of Mozart, Haydn was court musician and concertmaster to the Archbishop. The Cathedral Choir will present his Missa Tempore Quadragesimae, and penitential Mass setting for choir, organ, and cello. For the final piece in the program, we move to Munich and the composer Josef Rheinberger. A prolific composer (and the last royal court music director), his Stabat Mater is a short but powerful setting of the 13th century hymn (depicting the Virgin Mary’s suffering during the crucifixion), scored for choir, organ and string quartet.
For this concert, the cathedral choir, under the direction of Erik Goldstrom, will be joined by the Burn City String Quartet, a local Phoenix chamber ensemble. Admission is free of charge.