If you’ve ever seen the 1984 film “Amadeus,” you might think Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had such a wild personality he wouldn’t have had the patience to sit through a church service and pay attention.
But that was only a movie.
In reality, the prolific 18th-century composer wrote 17 different settings of the Mass, giving musicians and singers plenty of opportunities to render the “Gloria,” the “Agnus Dei” and other prayers.
This weekend, the Choral Arts of Luzerne County choir will present one of his most joyful arrangements during two concerts titled “Mostly Mozart.”
“It’s very happy, very uplifting,” said John Fitzgerald, who will direct members of the group as they sing “Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C Major, K. 317.”
Mozart completed this Mass, which is much shorter than his famous Requiem, on March 23, 1779, in Salzburg, Austria, just in time for it to premier on Easter Sunday, which was celebrated on April 4 that year.
The choral group’s “Mostly Mozart” concert, set for Saturday evening at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre and Sunday afternoon at Christ Lutheran Church in Hazleton, also will include”Tota Pulchra Es,” by the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner. The title of that piece can be translated “You are all fair” and comes from a centuries-old prayer to the Virgin Mary.
Rounding out the concerts is a work by contemporary composer Michael Fili. “Casabianca” has three sections, Fitzgerald said. One is devoted to the struggles of pilgrims coming to a new land, one pays tribute to people who endured a siege, and another tells the story of a boy who stood on a burning deck until he died.
The story about the boy is based on an incident that reportedly took place aboard the French ship Orient during the Battle of the Nile in the 1700s.
The captain’s son refuses to abandon his post without orders from his father. Those orders never come, an exploding magazine creates a dangerous situation and other people run away. But the loyal boy doesn’t leave — and he does not survive.
“The poem gives the feeling the boy is in his early teens,” Fitzgerald said.