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Joseph Haydn, Harmoniemesse

April 15 @ 10:00 am

Mass No. 14, Missa Solemnis in B-flat Major “Harmoniemesse” (Wind-band Mass), H. XXII:14 (1802)

Composed in 1802, while Joseph Haydn (b.Rohrau,1732; d.Vienna,1809), was employed by Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy (reigned 1794-1833), the Harmoniemesse is the last of Haydn’s six great Masses (Paukenmesse, Heiligmesse, Nelsonmesse, Theresienmesse, Schöpfungsmesse, and Harmoniemesse), all of which are in the Chorale’s repertoire. It follows the completion of his symphonies and belongs to the period of the composition of his oratorios, The Creation, The Seasons, and The Seven Last Words of Christ. The nickname comes from the use of many wind instruments, giving the sound of a wind-band or a harmonium – a type of reed organ that generates sound with foot-pumped bellows. As with works by Beethoven at this time, this Mass is quite “romantic” in nature, with an expanded orchestra and powerful composing for both the chorus and the orchestra. It is scored for the usual strings, flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and organ. The prominence of the brass and winds enhances the festive nature of the work, especially the opening of the Gloria, the Pleni of the Sanctus, and the Dona nobis pacem in the Agnus Dei. The Et incarnatus est in the Credo is set for soprano solo, trumpets, horns, and timpani – truly a passage of great and tender beauty. The Mass is not widely sung, even in Austria, but it is the climax of Haydn’s creative genius, written when he was 70 years old and at the very height of his musical expression. One editor has said that the Harmoniemesse is for Haydn what the Requiem and the Magic Flute are for Mozart; or Falstaff and the Pezzi Sacri are for Verdi. By this time, Haydn had composed over 100 symphonies and was very famous throughout the western world. Indeed, the Agnus Dei of the Heiligmesse makes reference to the Adagio of Symphony No. 98 in B flat Major, Hob. I:98 (1792). The Harmoniemesse was Haydn’s last major work. Shortly after composing this Mass, he sank into debilitating illness and was unable to produce any further works. The second of the six of Haydn’s great Masses, the Heiligmesse, will be presented by the Chorale & Orchestra next Sunday, April 10, 2016.                                                                                                                                                               (40:28)

                                                                     (Adapted from an undated and unpublished note by Monsignor Richard J. Schuler)


   Processional: César Franck, Psalm 150 for Clarinet, Chorus, Organ & Orchestra, M 69 (1884)

César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (b.Liège1822; d.Paris1890) was a Parisian composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher. In 1858 Franck was appointed organist at the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris, a position he retained for the rest of his life. Psalm 150 is a choral piece for SATB choir, organ, and orchestra based on the final psalm of the Book of Psalms. Temple musicians are called to lead all living creatures in Heaven and on Earth in praise of God. The Psalm proclaims to whom praise shall be given, and where (v:1); what praise shall be given, and why (v:2); how praise shall be given, and by whom (vs:35).                 (5:41)

Offertory: Pietro Yon, Motet “Victimae Paschali Laudes” (To the Paschal Victim Offer Praise) (1919)

Pietro Yon (b.Settimo Vittone,1886; d.New York,1943) was an Italian-born organist and composer who made his career in the United States as music director at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. This moving work is an orchestrated setting of the Easter Sequence chant, between the second reading and the Gospel, and a favorite of worshipers attending Easter and Low (Quasimodo) Sunday Masses at the Church of Saint Agnes. The beautiful Alleluia reminds us of the great joy and celebration during Easter Week.                                                                                                                                                              (4:44)


Haydn’s Harmoniemesse is conducted by Chorale music director Dr. Robert L. Peterson. Mary E. LeVoir is the organist. Soloists are Patricia Kent, soprano; Jocelyn Kalajian, contralto; John deCausmeaker, tenor; and Jon Nordstrom, bass. The Schola Cantorum is directed by Paul W. LeVoir. The Harmoniemesse was first presented by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale & Orchestra as part of its 1980-1981 season. The Chorale & Orchestra last presented this Mass on March 15, 2015

Recommended Listening:

  • Haydn: Harmoniemesse; Paukenmesse / Burdick: REBEL Baroque Orchestra / 2010 / Naxos
  • Haydn: Harmony Mass; Te Deum / S. Kuijken: La Petite Band / 1996 / Deutsche HM 77337
  • Franck: Halleluiah!-Great Choral Classics / Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Utah Symphony / 1994 / Decca 443381

The Twin Cities Catholic Chorale is a non-profit corporation, financially independent of the Church of Saint Agnes and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis, which depends solely on the generosity of its patrons.  For contribution options, and the current schedule of Masses, visit www.catholicchorale.org.  Compact discs of music recorded by the Chorale & Orchestra are available from the Leaflet Missal Co. at www.leafletonline.com.

The Resurrection of Christ  Lucas Cranach the Younger (1558) (b.Wittenberg1515; d.Wittenberg1586)

Angelus Domini

The Angel of the Lord

(Mt 28:2-5, 6)

Angelus Domini descendit de caelo et dixit mulieribus: Quem quareitis surrexit, sicut dixit,



The Angel of the Lord came down from heaven and said to the women: “The One whom you seek has risen, as he said,” Alleluia.


                      Offertory, Quasimodo Sunday, Graduale Romanum (1974)

Schedule of Future Chorale Masses

Sunday, April 10, Joseph Haydn, Heiligmesse (3rd Sunday of Easter)

Sunday, April 17, Joseph Haydn, Mariazellermesse (4TH Sunday of Easter)

Sunday, April 24, Charles Gounod, Saint Cecilia Mass (5th Sunday of Easter)


Twin Cities Catholic Chorale


Saint Agnes Church
535 Lafond Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55103 United States
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