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I’ve found a much better version of one of my favorite masses.  The soprano soloist is amazing in this version.

Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, has written that this mass “is arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.[1] Written in 1798, it is one of the six late masses by Haydn for the Esterhazy family composed after taking a short hiatus, during which elaborate church music was inhibited by the Josephinian reforms of the 1780s. The late sacred works of Haydn are regarded as masterworks, influenced by the experience of his London symphonies. They highlight the soloists and chorus while allowing the orchestra to play a prominent role.[2]

Owing to the political and financial instability of this period in European history, Haydn’s patron Nikolaus II dismissed the Feldharmonie, or wind band octet, shortly before Haydn wrote the Missa in Angustiis for the Princess’s name day.[2] Haydn, therefore, was left with a “dark” orchestra composed of strings, trumpets, timpani, and organ.[3] Later editors and arrangers added what they perceived to be missing woodwind parts, but the original scoring has again become the accepted choice for modern performances.

Though Haydn’s reputation was at its peak in 1798, when he wrote this mass, his world was in turmoil. Napoleon had won four major battles with Austria in less than a year. The previous year, in early 1797, his armies had crossed the Alps and threatened Vienna itself. In May 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt to destroy Britain’s trade routes to the East.

The summer of 1798 was therefore a terrifying time for Austria, and when Haydn finished this mass, his own title, in the catalogue of his works, was Missa in Angustiis (Mass for troubled times). What Haydn did not know when he wrote the mass, but what he and his audience heard (perhaps on September 15, the day of the very first performance), was that on 1 August, Napoleon had been dealt a stunning defeat in the Battle of the Nile by British forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson. Because of this coincidence, the mass gradually acquired the nickname Lord Nelson Mass. The title became indelible when, in 1800, Lord Nelson himself visited the Palais Esterházy, accompanied by his British mistress, Lady Hamilton, and may have heard the mass performed.[4]

Haydn’s original title may also have come from illness and exhaustion at this time, which followed his supervision of the first performances of The Creation, completed a few months earlier. More simply, it may have sprung from the challenge of composing without the desired instrumentation.[5] The solo parts for two of the vocal quartet are virtuosic: the bass line was perhaps written for the accomplished Christian Specht, and the soprano line, even more demanding, could have been written for Barbara Pilhofer or Therese Gassmann. The piece was premiered 23 September 1798 at the Stadtpfarr church, a last minute venue change from the Bergkirche in Eisenstadt.

Joseph Haydn’s Concerto per il Clarino, (Hob.: VIIe/1) (Trumpet Concerto in E flat major) was written in 1796 for his long-time friend Anton Weidinger. Joseph Haydn was 64 years of age.

Love the Angus Dei from this mass, getting the phrasing correct was a challenge but well worth the effort.  :)

The Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo, Hob. XXII:7, Novello 8, is a mass in B-flat major by Joseph Haydn.[1] The missa brevis (short mass) was written around 1775 for the order of the Barmherzige Brüder (Brothers Hospitallers) in Eisenstadt, whose patron saint was St. John of God. Scored modestly for soprano, four-part mixed choir, two violins, organ and bass, it is known as the Kleine Orgelsolomesse (Little Organ Mass) due to an extended organ solo in the Benedictus movement.

Greetings fair readers.  A slightly different format for the DWR classical music interlude.  Its Haydn, and all four movements in the same post.  Commentary from wikipedia appears below.  Enjoy.

 

First movement

Haydn distinguishes each section of the sonata form in this movement by use of strong contrasts of stability and instability. Before revealing the first theme of the symphony, Haydn opens this movement with a slow introduction that begins in the tonic G major and modulates through to the parallel minor and then to the dominant. He begins the first theme in the tonic but on a dominant seventh chord. This is very unusual of symphonies of the time but it reflects an aspect of Haydn’s unique compositional characteristics. Because the rest of the Oxford will reflect many of the ideas presented in this first theme, this symphony has been termed monothematic.

Following the first theme is the transition, which allows Haydn to modulate to the dominant. The second theme begins with the opening idea of the movement, but in the dominant key. As this theme progresses it enters a section of minor-mode before entering into the closing theme. Haydn stays in the dominant key through the closing of the first movement. In the development section, Haydn borrows themes from the exposition, then “develops” and embellishes them. He adds sections of subject change and digression from the original theme as well as moments of rest or silence. These qualities of the development are all very characteristic of Haydn. Furthermore, he draws upon the older style of intricate counterpoint to enhance the galante style of the symphony.

Second movement

The second movement is in ternary form with a slow and song-like melody. Haydn, however, adds his own uniqueness to this movement by adding an intense middle section in minor. This minor interlude is based on a motive from the opening section. A shortened return of the major section precedes a section of the movement that features the winds.[3]

Third movement

Haydn composes the third movement in ABA form with a minuet and trio. Both the minuet and trio are in binary form with repeats. In order to create a more entertaining movement for the listener, Haydn composes the minuet with phrases of six measures as opposed to the normal four-measure phrase and adds syncopations and stops. All of these qualities were found to be humorous by the audiences of Haydn’s time because they were so unusual.

Fourth movement

Haydn’s final movement of the Oxford Symphony is centered on a feeling of tension and release. In order to convey this quality to the listener, Haydn writes this sonata form movement slightly faster and shorter than the first movement of the symphony to create a climactic ending.

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