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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. 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.
Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, has written that this mass “is arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”. 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 masterworks, influenced by the experience of his London symphonies. They highlight the soloists and chorus while allowing the orchestra to play a prominent role.
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. Haydn, therefore, was left with a “dark” orchestra composed of strings, trumpets, timpani, and organ. 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.
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. 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.
Sang this tune at the holiday concerts this year. The tenor part is all over the place (the usual), but well worth learning and singing. :)
Give us peace.
Recently sung this at a choir bootcamp. We sight read, but it turned out pretty not so bad.
Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux;
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux!
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante,
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois!
O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé!
Korobeiniki” (Russian: Коробейники, lit. Peddlers) is a nineteenth-century Russian folk song that tells of a meeting between a peddler and a girl, describing their haggling over goods in a veiled metaphor for courtship.
The song “Korobeiniki” is based on a poem with the same name by Nikolay Nekrasov, written and printed in the Sovremennik magazine in 1861. Due to its increasing tempo and the dance style associated with it, it quickly became a popular Russian folk song.
Korobeiniki were peddlers with trays, selling fabric, haberdashery, books and other small things in pre-revolutionary Russia. Nekrasov’s poem is a sad story about the love between a peasant girl, Katya, and a young peddler. They meet each other in a rye field at night where he has promised her a good deal on the goods he carries, before they are sold in the market at day. Only the night knows what happens between them in the rye field, but she is not so simple and does not take any of the goods which he offers her. What is the point, she figures, to have all that without him – her first and only love? She takes only a small turquoise ring, as a memory, and he promises to marry her when he comes back from his commerce trip. He continues his journey and she waits for him with caution. His business goes very well and he makes a lot of money, but on the way back he is killed and robbed by a forest ranger whom he asks for directions. So he never comes back to marry Katya. The song is the beginning of the original poem; it only recounts Katya’s first meeting with the young peddler when their relation is getting off to a happy start.