Although given the title "Coronation", the K317 mass is not so full of ceremonial grandeur but is a rushed work with the composer rather grudgingly setting about to his mundane task for the Archbishop in 1780's Salzburg. The notes tell us of his chagrin at having to return to the employ of Archbishop Colloredo after his visits to Mannheim and Paris and the music composed after this enforced return is rather lacking in inspiration when compared to the other great works which were flowing from his pen when he was away.
Harnoncourt gets to the point straightaway and his reading is unfussy yet direct with soloists and chorus having a good time singing the admittedly beautiful notes on the page. The Vespers are also quite authentic in their sound with introductions suitably reminiscent of some 18th century church service. Harnoncourt brings great theatricality to proceedings and the recordings are quite excellent.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech