Joseph Haydn’s Theresienmesse

Mass No. 12 in B Flat Major “Theresienmesse” (Maria Theresa of Naples & Sicily), Hob.XXII:12 (1799)

The Theresienmesse was composed by Joseph Haydn (b.Rohrau,1732; d.Vienna,1809) in the summer of 1799. It is one of a series of six Masses requested annually by Haydn’s patron, Prince Nikolaus II Esterhazy (r.1794-1833), to celebrate the name-day (September 12, the Most Holy Name of Mary) of Nikolaus’ wife, Princess Maria Hermenegild (1768-1845), and to be presented at the Prince’s chapel in Eisenstadt.  The autograph score of this Mass bears the simple title Missa.  The nickname, Theresienmesse is thought to have originated after a presentation in the Viennese court chapel in which the soprano soloist was Maria Theresa of Naples & Sicily (1772-1807), Empress Consort of Holy Roman Emperor Franz II (r.1792-1806). The Empress was also a soprano soloist in both of Haydn’s oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons, composed during the same period. The other five Masses composed by Haydn during this period are the Paukenmesse (1796), Heiligmesse (1796), Nelsonmesse (1798), Schöpfungsmesse (1801), and Harmoniemesse (1802). All of these Masses are in the Chorale’s repertory and all but the Schöpfungsmesse and the Harmoniemesse are scheduled for presentation by the Chorale & Orchestra this season. (44:53)

The Theresienmesse 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 Theresienmesse was first presented by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale & Orchestra as part of its 1977-1978 season. The Chorale & Orchestra last presented this Mass on October 22, 2017.

Recommended Listening:

  • Haydn: Theresienmesse, Kleine Orgelmesse / Hickox, Collegium Musicum 90 / 1996 / Chandos 0592

  • Haydn: Masses (Nos. 7, 9, 11, & 12) / Marriner, Staatskapelle Dresden / 1995 / EMI (Disc 2)

  • Haydn: Missa Sancti Nicolai / Theresienmesse / Pinnock, English Concert / 1993 / Archiv 437 807-2



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