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Joseph Haydn, Mariazellermesse

May 6 @ 10:00 am

Mass No. 8 in C Major: “Missa Cellensis”, “Mariazellermesse” (Mary in the Cell Mass) (H. XXII:8) (1782)

Mariazell is a village in the province of Steiermark, where the Austrian national shrine, Mater Austriae, is located.  The name “Mariazell” means “Mary in the cell,” a reference to the cell of Brother Magnus, a Benedictine monk who carried a lime-tree wood statue of Mary to this site in 1157 and founded a chapel there. Ailing visitors who prayed before the statue reported miraculous cures, and by the 17th century more than 300,000 pilgrims visited the shrine annually.  For over 800 years, the great basilica dedicated to Our Lady at Mariazell has been a place of pilgrimage for Central and Eastern Europe.  In the center of the great baroque church is the Chapel of Grace with its silver altar and ancient statue of Our Lady dressed in brocaded robes.  In September of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI and 30,000 pilgrims traveled to the basilica in the Styrian Alps to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Austria’s national shrine.  Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed his Mass No. 8 in C Major in 1782, but it was probably not presented first at Mariazell, since it is unlikely that the musical forces needed for its performance could be found in so remote a place.  Rather, the Mass was probably sung in Vienna for a society that fostered pilgrimages to the shrine. The fugues that close the Gloria, Credo and Agnus Dei are masterful examples of choral composition, which form musical segues back to the Masses of the Renaissance masters. The Benedictus uses the melody of the Austrian national hymn, Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser (God save Franz the Kaiser) in a tender and touching manner.  The orchestration for this Mass, composed in the key of C major, requires strings, two oboes, two trumpets and tympani.  Because of the restrictions imposed by Emperor Joseph II (reigned 1765-1790), Haydn did not compose another Mass until 1796 when he composed both the Paukenmesse (Mass No. 10 in C Major: ‘Missa in tempore belli, H. XXII:9) and the Heiligmesse (Mass No. 9 in B-flat Major ‘Missa sancti Bernardi von Offida, H. XXII:10), both of which are in the repertoire of the Chorale.                                 (33:59)

                                                                     (Adapted from an undated and unpublished note by Monsignor Richard J. Schuler) 

Haydn’s Mariazellermesse 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 Mariazellermesse was first presented by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale & Orchestra as part of its 1974-1975 inaugural Orchestra Mass season. The Chorale & Orchestra last presented this Mass on April 17, 2016.


Recommended Listening:

  • Haydn: Mariazellermesse; Paukenmesse / Burdick: REBEL Baroque Orchestra / 2010 / Naxos
  • Complete Mozart Edition, Vol 21: Organ Sonatas & Solos / Chorzempa: Deutsche Bachsolisten / 2006 / Phillips 464 6602


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.



Maria Hilf

(Mary, Help of Christians)

Maria Hilf


Maria Hilf

“Original” oil painting (c. 1537)

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)

Gift of Archduke of Further Austria Ferdinand Charles (1650)

Cathedral of St. Jakob, Innsbruck, Austria


…Grant unto us, O Mary, Help of Christians, to be gathered under your maternal protection.  May the thought of the love you bear toward your devoted children be to us so great a source of strength as to make us victors over the enemies of our salvation, both in life and in death, so that we may come to stand with you in the beauty of Paradise.  Amen


                        Raccolta #378, Benziger Brothers, Inc., New York, 1943

Maria Hilf


Twin Cities Catholic Chorale


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