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Monday, August 3, 2020


(Conductor: Justus Frantz)

This week, join At home with the KZN Phil, as they present the video recording of Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C Major with the KZN Philharmonic, conducted by acclaimed maestro, Justus Frantz. This performance was part of a concert honouring Albertina Sisulu and featured soloists Linda Nteleza, Abongile Fumba, Wayne Mkhize and Andile Dlamini, accompanied by the Sounds of Joy Choir.

Justus Frantz is a name that one associates with outstanding orchestras and an absolute commitment to music. Professor Frantz has been an internationally successful pianist and conductor for more than 30 years. He has served classical music countless times by constantly discovering and nurturing young musical talents. Therefore, tours of the Philharmonia of the Nations Auditions (Vorspiele) in many countries take a firm place in his schedule – and for young musicians worldwide it is an excellent opportunity at the beginning of their musical careers. He invited the violinists Goto Midori, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin and pianist Evgeny Kissin as young talents for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and paved the way for their great careers. In St Petersburg he chose the unknown Anna Netrebko to sing Susanna in his production of The Marriage of Figaro. He discovered the young violinist and composer Martin Panteleev and brought his compositions on stage for the first time.

 Professor Frantz is chief conductor of the Philharmonia of the Nations. He also works regularly with renowned orchestras all over the world such as the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the Great Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia and the Georgian Chamber Orchestra.

The Coronation Mass in C Major, K. 317 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) comprises the following movements:

I Kyrie

II Gloria

III Credo

IV Sanctus

V Benedictus

VI Agnus Dei

The Coronation Mass is one of Mozart’s most popular mass settings. It was composed for Easter services in 1779 after Mozart had taken up a post as the organist for the Salzburg court. One of his duties as a court organist was to provide the church with new compositions. When composing mass settings for Salzburg services, he was given a set of guidelines given to him by the Archbishop that stood in contrast to standard practices. Mozart wrote in a letter: “Our church music is very different to that of Italy, all the more so since a mass with all its movements, even for the most solemn occasions when the sovereign himself reads the mass [e.g. Easter Day], must not last more than three quarters of an hour. One needs a special training for this type of composition, and it must also be a mass with all instruments, war trumpets, timpani, etc.” The trouble with classifying the Coronation Mass is that, while short in length, suggesting a missa brevis, or short mass, the large orchestration (oboes, bassoon, horns, trumpets, trombones, timpani, strings and organ) and the addition of the Benedictus movement implies a missa solemnis, the long form used for High Mass.

The work lasts only about 20 minutes, but when the liturgical text is added between the movements it spans the archbishop’s requirement of around 45 minutes. The music in the Coronation Mass is bright and joyful. The Kyrie opens with trumpeting statements in the choir and orchestra that are contrasted by a dolce section for the solo voices. The Gloria is in a vibrant triple metre that frequently contrasts exclamatory phrases with lyrical passages. In the Credo Mozart handles the lengthy and complicated text by using a relatively simple form in a spritely Allegro molto. The short Sanctus returns to the declamatory nature of the work and is followed by a gently flowing Benedictus reminiscent of his piano works. The work ends with an expressive Agnus Dei that closes with themes from the Kyrie over the text "Dona nobis pacem, Amen". It is unclear how the work received the title Coronation Mass, as it was composed as a normal mass setting for the Salzburg court. It is speculated that with its bright and heroic character, aided by the orchestra size, it was used as an inaugural work in the imperial court of Vienna in the early 19th century. However, some musicologists speculate that it received its name when it was performed at the coronation of Leopold II or Francis I in Prague. Programme Notes: © Paul Boekkooi, 2018)

Listen to the performance conducted by Maestro Justus Frantz at


Together with the World Symphony Series, the Orchestra also undertakes a comprehensive education, development and community engagement programme which exposes more than 30,000 urban and township learners to educational music concerts. Without the support of those who share its love for music and commitment to being an essential resource for the people of South Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra would be hard-pressed to achieve its mission. We are a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) with SARS.


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KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

FNB: Durban Main Branch

Branch Code: 221426

Current Acc No: 62001363689


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