Besides the Masses, the Requiem and the Vespers, Mozart’s lengthier church-music works also include four Litanies, all composed in Salzburg. After his first Italian journey (13 December 1769 to 28 March 1771), Mozart returned to his post as archiepiscopal “Konzertmeister”. Undoubtedly inspired by what he had just experienced, he wrote the Litaniae Lauretanae (Loretian Litany) K.109 (74e), his first work in this genre, which is dated May 1771.
The form of the Litany was found already in early Christian times. Like its name suggests, it is a prayer of supplication, with a steady repetition of acclamations; however, with regard to its manner of performance, it is also a kind of responsory prayer. While the Loretian Litany is an eloquent expression of Marian devotion, the Sacramental Litany is a testimony of praise and veneration of the Eucharist and a recognition of its salvational effect.
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