1987, Music

Missa in Angustiis aka Nelson Mass (1987) by Margaret Marshall, Carolyn Watkinson, Keith Lewis, Robert Holl, Rundfnkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Neville Mariner

This is widely considered to be the greatest of Haydn’s masses and, according to some people, the greatest of Haydn’s compositions.

For reasons that escape me, I have (mostly) struggled with masses compared to other forms within the classical tradition. Masses always seem more dense to me, more impenetrable. (And this is someone who loves operas and many oratorios, so go figure.)

And so find myself kind of now knowing what to do here. It’s far from the first 18th century mass I’ve heard – though it’s probably the only one outside of Bach’s masses, if I hazard a guess – but I have a lot harder time hearing what other people find impressive, I guess, because those masses are Baroque, and Baroque music has long appealed to me over Classical. (Yes, I am a snob. I like my music unnecessarily tricky.)

There are some neat passages in this where Haydn employs a trick he uses in one of his symphonies, where some of the vocalists are “off the beat” – for lack of a better phrase, and in this case, it’s not exactly true… – but in Baroque masses, there are a bunch of voices doing other things. That’s way cooler, to me.

So I’m struggling with really liking this, even though I recognize it as art, and undoubtedly it is likely among the great High Classical masses. But unlike a number of Haydn’s symphonies, I have no real desire to listen to it again. Ah well.


Missa In Tempore Belli (“Paukenmesse”), Hob. XXII:9 Messe Nr. 9, C-dur / Mass No. 9 In C Major / Messe N° 9 En Ut Majeur Missa In Tempore Belli (“Paukenmesse”), Hob. XXII:9 Messe Nr. 9, C-dur / Mass No. 9 In C Major / Messe N° 9 En Ut Majeur

  1. Kyrie 4:51
  2. Gloria: Gloria In Excelsis Deo 2:47
  3. Gloria: Qui Tollis (Cello soloist – Clemens Dillner)
  4. Gloria: Quoniam Tu Solus Sanctus 2:19
  5. Credo: Credo In Unum Deum 1:13
  6. Credo: (1) Et Incarnatus Est 3:53
  7. Credo: (2) Et Resurrexit 1:59
  8. Credo: (3) Et Vitam Aeternam 2:18
  9. Sanctus 2:42
  10. Benedictus 6:25
  11. Agnus Dei: (1) Agnus Dei 3:09
  12. Agnus Dei: (2) Dona Nobis Pacem 2:46

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