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This concert presents a pair of masterpieces for soloists, chorus and orchestra by two of the greatest composers of the Classical period. Mozart’s Vespers, K.339, is among the last works he wrote in his native city of Salzburg before his move to Vienna in 1781. Consisting of settings of five vesper psalms and the Magnificat, it is thought to have been intended for the feast of a saint who was worshipped as a confessor. The word 'solennes' in the title merely indicates 'solemn ritual', i.e. with the full panoply of ceremonial, and by implication orchestral rather than organ accompaniment; the music is, of course, hardly 'solemn' as we understand the word. Beethoven’s Mass in C, his first sacred work of note, was produced in 1807 for the name-day of the wife of Prince Nikolaus II Esterhazy, who for many years had commissioned a new annual mass setting for that occasion; notably, Haydn’s last six great masses had been produced for this purpose in the years up to 1802, and must have been very much in Beethoven’s mind as he wrote. Beethoven’s music, however, breaks much new ground, revealing him as much as any other work as a leading player in the transition from the Classical to the Romantic age in music.