Mass in A-flat by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Franz Schubert began writing this Missa Solemnis as a 22-year-old.  He completed it in 1822 but continued to revise it and even recompose entire sections until the spring of 1826.  Schubert gave the choir forthright, powerful music, said to represent the institutional Church, and gave the soloists softer, more melodic music, said to reflect his personal relationship with God.  The tremendous strength and power in the Gloria is thought by Schubert himself to be his finest religious work.  We are not certain if this great Mass was ever performed in Schubert’s lifetime. It remained unpublished for several years after his death.  Like Beethoven, Schubert’s later compositions set many of the characteristics that would become known as the Romantic Period (1820-1900) in music history.  You will notice a definite change in style between this work and his most famous Mass in G, composed early in his adult life.

Schubert uses the augmented full romantic orchestra for this work. If you glance up into the loft this morning, you will find our space to be quite crowded. The Gloria represents one of the most powerful movements of any Mass we do all season.  This great Mass is an annual favorite of many in the Chorale and Orchestra.  We hope you enjoy this emotional work as well!

The weekly schedule of Chorale Masses is posted here, and printed copies are at the church entrance, along with donation envelopes. The Chorale is a non-profit organization and depends on the generosity of donors. Please send contributions to: Twin Cities Catholic Chorale, P.O. Box 4234, St. Paul, MN 55104. A few of our contributors have asked about sponsoring a specific Mass on a given Sunday. If you might be interested, please contact Virginia Schubert, the Chorale’s President, at inquiry@catholicchorale.org.

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