Missa Solemnis


Wednesday, 16 April 2014
7.30 pm

  1. 16.04.2014
  2. 7:30 p.m.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa solemnis in D major was intended for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Olomouc. In June 1819 his friend, patron and pupil Archduke Rudolf was appointed to this position by Pope Pius VII and Beethoven decided to write a mass. The solemn High Mass was scheduled for 9 March, 1820, but his composition was not yet ready. It was not until almost four years later and after repeated promises to Rudolf that the work would soon be done that Beethoven finally completed it in January 1823. From the desire to create a work fit for the tone and liturgy of an episcopal consecration a work emerged that went way beyond the scale of anything known at the time. On the one hand, Beethoven’s emotional music is coloured by his deep understanding of the text of the Ordinary of the Mass; on the other, it is pervaded by historical parameters of the genre such as imitation, counterpoint and the fugue. It reveals, so to speak, the faith of the near-deaf and crisis-ridden Beethoven, but also his unbroken eagerness to study and his approach to church music. Beethoven dedicated his Missa solemnis – despite the delay in finishing it – to his friend Rudolf. That it was written by a friend is shown by a note on the autograph:
“From the heart – may it return – to the heart!”