Saturday 25 March 2017

7.30 pm
Trinity Methodist Church
Cottingham Road, Hull HU5 2EJ
(at the corner of Newland Avenue)

concert 3 image

Musicians at the Court of Prince Esterházy prepare
to accompany a wind-band mass

Haydn

Harmoniemesse

Beethoven

Mass in C major

Both of these Mass settings were written for Haydn’s employer Prince Esterházy, and both employ a full wind section (hence the name Harmoniemesse for Haydn’s work - it means ‘wind-band mass’). This is the last of a magnificent, and varied, number of settings of the mass written by Haydn during his long and distinguished career, and the sixth written in the period after his successful visits to London. It therefore belongs to the period of The Creation and The Seasons, works together with his London symphonies that were to seal his reputation as a composer of the highest level. These six last settings of the mass in every way live up to the reputation of those works.

The Harmoniemesse was completed in 1802, just five years before Beethoven’s mighty work, specially commissioned by Prince Esterházy. Beethoven considered Haydn’s masses to be ‘inimitable masterpieces’, and so it is not surprising that he studied them in detail before beginning his Mass in C. That work does, however, have its own inimitable traits which greatly surprised the Prince, at its first performance. It is one of the greatest works of Beethoven’s middle period, and is a ‘must hear’ for anyone who loves the music of this master composer.