Musica Sacra Performs Rarely Heard Mozart Mass Feb. 22

Musica Sacra and Orchestra will present a rare glimpse into the mind and music of a musical prodigy and icon when it performs the rarely heard “Missa Solemnis in C Minor,” K. 139, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, at St. Francis Xavier Church.

The work was commissioned in 1768 by a Jesuit priest, the Rev. Ignaz Parhammer, for the dedication of the Orphanage Church (Waisenhauskirche) in Vienna. From there it drew its nickname of the Waisenhausmesse, or “Orphanage Mass.”

Mozart was 12 years old when he composed the work, but he was by no means a typical preteen. By this time he had traveled to cities and courts with his father, Leopold, and sister, Nannerl—Munich, London, Vienna and Prague.

A Viennese newspaper reported that the Dec. 7 performance of the work was “met with universal approval and admiration.” The Empress Maria Theresa and her children were present at the Mass.

The work is a lyrical wonder and a fine example of how a high Mass would have been composed for Vienna. The orchestration includes strings, oboes, trumpets and timpani, a larger orchestra than was typical in Mozart’s home in Salzburg.

In addition, the ensemble will perform Johann Adolph Hasse’s brief setting of Psalm 111, “Beatus Vir.”

Director Timothy L. McDonald, Ph.D., will present Live Program Notes about the concert at 6:15 p.m. St. Francis Xavier Church is located at 52nd and Troost Avenue, west of the Rockhurst University campus. Concert tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available through the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222, at or at the performance.

About Rockhurst Rockhurst University is one of 28 Catholic, Jesuit universities in the United States. It challenges students to become leaders while providing a supportive environment for intellectual and personal growth. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Rockhurst among the top Midwest Regional Universities. Rockhurst is the only institution in the Kansas City area to have earned the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Learn more at

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