Ludwig van Beethoven
Messe in C op. 86
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Missa Longa KV 262
Sunday, may 19, 2013 at 7:30 P.M.
Saint Paul Church
2577 Main Street in Glastonbury
The Missa Longa, KV 262 is one of the seven Missae Solemnis composed by Mozart for various grand ceremonies. Completed in 1776, this work was likely performed in the Salzburg Cathedral at the request of Archbishop Colloredo. While stylistically this work certainly belongs among Mozart’s Missae Solemnis, the lack of extended solo sections has led some scholars to categorize it as a Missa Brevis. It is the sheer length of this “Missa Brevis” that has earned it the nick-name “Missa Longa.”
Beginning in 1795, Franz Joseph Haydn was commissioned by Prince Nikolaus Esterházy II to compose a mass annually to celebrate his wife’s name day. In 1807, Beethoven composed his Messe in C in an attempt to continue this tradition. Having previously composed just one major sacred work, Beethoven accepted the commission with some hesitation. He wrote to the Prince confessing that he would “ deliver the Mass to you with timidity, since you are accustomed to having the inimitable masterpieces of the great Haydn performed for you.” The resulting work was a traditionally-styled mass that was indeed similar to those of Haydn in many ways .