An Inspiration for Bach and Mozart?
The Musicalische Congregation, a brotherhood of musicians and music-lovers active in Vienna from 1725 to 1783, has recently gained attention for its possible links to two iconic mass settings of the eighteenth century. Michael Maul has posited a connection between the Congregation and Bach's efforts to complete the B minor Mass in the 1740s, while Ulrich Konrad has suggested that Mozart had the Congregation in mind when working on the unfinished C minor Mass K. 427 of 1782-83. Much documentation survives on the history of the Congregation which has yet to be considered by scholars, and an examination of these sources suggests that the Bach and Mozart connections are on the whole unlikely. But the way in which these ideas have been framed offers some interesting insight into the historiography of eighteenth-century music.