Details about our May Concert
Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo
Uttoxeter Choral Society Spring/ Summer Concert 2020
Haydn composed this Missa Brevis in the years leading up to 1778. It is dedicated to Joannis de Deo. This was Johannes Cuidad (1495-1565) who was a Portuguese monk and who was the patron saint of the Barmherzige Bruder (Order of the Brothers of Mercy) who ran a hospital in Vienna where Haydn played the chapel organ as a young man, as well as being based in Eisenstadt where Haydn lived while working for Nikolaus II, Prince Esterhazy.
The Missa Brevis form was popular in Austria in the 18th century where the Gloria and Credo parts were sung simultaneously by different vocal parts thus telescoping and shortening the mass. By the end of the century the Church rather disapproved of these short masses and they became less common.
This particular mass is also known as the Little Organ Mass as it has an extended organ solo in the Benedictus. It is in B-flat major, being originally scored for soprano solo and four-part choir (SATB) together with two violins and bass, and organ- it is thought that the small organ loft size of the hospital chapel of the Brethren in Eisenstadt may be responsible for the small number of instruments. As well as having an organ solo in the Benedictus, it is here that the only solo part is found, that of a soprano. The relationship of the organ and vocal parts can be likened to a dialogue between them.
As well as performing the Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo a variety of other sacred music is being performed.
These range from Exsultate Deo by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, a motet for five voices, the alto part being split, based on Psalm 81:1-3 where one is encouraged to sing loudly to God with a joyful noise accompanied by tambourine, harp, and trumpet, to Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure, composed when he was 19 and which has intimations of his later Requiem.