Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale present a program of Mozart’s sacred choral works, written when he was in his late teens and 20s. It’s called Mozart Magnified, and they’ll give performances at Stanford, San Francisco and Berkeley from Wednesday to Sunday. Bruce Lamott, Director of the Philharmonia Chorale gives a preview.

There’s more information about the concerts at the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale website.

“This whole program is Mozart in Salzburg, the city he loved to hate. His birthplace, a place he didn’t spend much of his childhood, because he was on the road,” Lamott explains. “Salzburg has gotten a very bad reputation because of what he writes later as a kind of a disgruntled employee. But the fact is that Salzburg was kind of the crossroads of culture, and there were multiple musical establishments, and it’s kind of on that axis between Munich and Venice, and Vienna going the other way.  So a lot of very important people came through, and there was a lot of money there.” On the program are two better known works, the Coronation Mass, and Exsultate Jubilate; but there’s also his Loretan Litanies. “The Litanies, actually they were very popular in Southern Austria, and Mozart actually wrote four litanies, two of them with this text. And they all relate to the Virgin of Loreto, which is the Basilica where it was believed that angels had translated the house of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to get it away from the Muslims when they retook the Holy Land from the Crusaders… There are five short movements, and they’re kind of Mass in miniature. They do begin with a Kyrie, they end with an Agnus Dei, albeit with slightly different texts. But they are unabashedly operatic.” That’s especially the case for the  soprano and tenor solo parts, which are pyrotechnic.