Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Sub tuum praesidium K198 – Soloists: Steven Möckel, Max Emanuel Cenčić

Photo: Payrus dated 250 AD with the Greek text of the prayer known in Latin as "Sub tuum praesidium".

Photo: Payrus dated 250 AD with the Greek text of the prayer known in Latin as "Sub tuum praesidium".

This Offertory motet, the text of which is the oldest known hymn to Mary as Mother of God and Protectoress of the faithful is one of those pieces of Mozart’s music that keeps musicologists busy. It survives in a variety of manuscript sources but because there’s no surviving autograph manuscript there were some who doubted that it was indeed by Mozart however it’s now established that this is indeed an authentic Mozart composition. Another issue discussed by musicologists was whether Mozart originally wrote the melody for an opera and later adapted it for religious purposes, yet a third controversy was whether it should be sung by a soprano and a tenor – I have no idea why anyone would suggest this consider the evidence:

  • First it’s in F major, which for Mozart was his "lyrical key"
  • Second if you look at the score  it’s very clear that Mozart relished the opportunity afforded by the text to pair two evenly matched voices with string accompaniment.

About the recording – the performance below dates from 1992 and features two soloists of the Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys Choir) – Steven Möckel, who in my opinion is one that choir’s outstanding trebles in my lifetime  and Max Emanuel Cenčić who isn’t quite up to Möckel’s standard but who went on to become an outstanding tenor. There are very few recordings of Möckel in existence and I was delighted to discover this live performance on YouTube. Enjoy :-).

mfi


Video Source: Mozart K.198 Möckel – Cencic – YouTube. Published on Sep 1, 2014 by 52sport6469.

Text & Translation: Sub tuum praesidium K198

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus,
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta,
Domina nostra, mediatrix nostra, advocata nostra.
Tuo filio nos reconcilia,
tuo filio nos commenda,
tuo filio nos repraesenta.

We fly to thy patronage,
O holy Mother of God.
Despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin,
our mistress, our intermediary, our advocate.
Reconcile us to your son,
commend us to your son,
represent us to your son.

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