‘I have thoroughly acquainted myself with that style since my youth’1
Most of Mozart's sacred music was composed for the Salzburg liturgy. Although the finest pieces date from the later years, the essential patterns were laid down earlier. As a boy in Paris he composed an independent setting of the first section of the Ordinary of the Mass, a Kyrie eleison, and in Vienna (1768) he contributed both small and large types of complete setting (Missa brevis and Missa solemnis). Colloredo's decree concerning the length of the liturgy may explain the predominance of the Missa brevis in Mozart's output, but certain days in the church year required more elaborate music, including the four C major masses composed between 1775 and 1780, the four Litanies and, in his last two years in Salzburg, two sets of Vespers.
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