Joseph Haydn’s Gross Orgelsolomesse

Joseph Haydn, Mass No. 5 in E-flat Major “Missa in Honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae (Mass in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary), “Große Orgelsolomesse” (Great Organ Solo Mass), H. XXII:4 (1770)

The Große Orgelsolomesse was composed by Joseph Haydn (b.Rohrau1732; d.Vienna1809) most likely in 1770. It was titled by the composer as Missa in Honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae, to serve as a Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother. It is unknown for which, if any, specific Marian feast the Mass was intended. The Große Orgelsolomesse was among the earliest sacred works Haydn composed for the Esterházy court. Its nickname is derived from the virtuoso solo organ part of the Mass in the Benedictus, during which Haydn himself was known to have been at the keyboard for presentations of the Mass. The organ solo Mass genre came into vogue in the middle of the 18th century at a time when the organ increasingly assumed a solo role within orchestrated choral compositions of the Mass. In addition to the Große Orgelsolomesse, notable organ solo Masses included W.A. Mozart’s Mass No.13 in C Major, Missa Brevis No. 8, “Organ Solo” K 259 (1776) and Joseph Haydn’s own Mass No. 7 in B-flat MajorMissa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo”, “Kleine Orgelsolomesse” (‘Little Organ Solo Mass’) (H. XXII/7) (c.1775-1778). When compared to the Kleine Orgelsolomesse, the term große refers not to the length of the organ solo part in the Benedictus, but rather to the overall length of the Mass, which for Große is 37 minutes as opposed to Kleine’s, 17 minutes – an additional 20 minutes! The Große is therefore over double the Kleine in length as well as in difficulty. There is some speculation regarding when Haydn composed his Great Organ Solo Mass. The identifying watermark used in the manuscript paper for the Mass corresponds to the watermark in the paper used in the opera Le Pescatrici (The Fisherwoman), which was known to have been composed by Haydn in 1770 for the marriage of the niece of Prince Nicholas I, Esterházy (r.1762-1790), Countess Maria Theresa Lamberg. Additionally, the score calls for two English horns, instruments that were not acquired by the Esterházy Orchestra until 1770. Auch die Verwendung des Englischhorns war eine Besonderheit, denn diese Instrumente konnten auch das tiefe Es spielen.The work is scored for Besetzung: Soloquartett, Chor, Englischhörner, Hörner, Streicher, Orgel (später zugefügt Trompeten und Pauken)soloists (SATB), choir (SATB), 2 English horns, 2 horns, 2 violins, bass (cello or double bass), 2 clarinets, timpani, and organ. Joseph Haydn’s Kleine Orgelsolomesse is also in the repertory of the Chorale & Orchestra.   (37:00)

The Große Orgelsolomesse is conducted by Chorale music director Dr. Marc Jaros. Mary E. LeVoir is the virtuoso 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.

Recommended Listening:

  • Haydn: Große Orgelsolomesse; Nikolaimesse / Wolf: Chorvereinigung St. Augustin / 1984 / Chorvereinigung
  • Haydn: Messen 4, 7 (Große Orgelmesse; Kleine Orgelmesse) / Böttcher: Chor St. Augustin / 2015 / JPC 8430388
  • Haydn: Masses, Vol. 5 (Große Orgelmesse; Heiligmesse) / Burdick: REBEL Baroque Orchestra / 2010 / Naxos
  • Haydn: Große Orgelsolomesse; Kleine Orgelsolomesse / Hasselbock: Wiener Akademie / 1994 / Novalis 150 095-2
  • Haydn: Große Orgelmesse; Mozart: Te Deum / Kammler: Augsburger Domsingknaben / 1978 / DHM 05472778602



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