Berliner Konzert Chor

Hasse and Haydn

Johann Adolf Hasse (1699–1783): Missa in g
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809): Missa in angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass)

3rd Subscription Concert 2018/19
Sunday, 7 April 2019 at 8:00 p.m. | Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt

In Performance

Johanna Knauth (Soprano)
Ines Muschka (Alto)
Dirk Kleinke (Tenor)
Christian Henneberg (Bass)
Berliner Konzert Chor
Berlin Konzert Orchester

Johann Adolf Hasse (1699–1783): Mass in G

Beginning in 1733, Hasse served for thirty years as court music director (Hofkapellmeister) in Dresden to Friedrich August II, the son of Augustus the Strong. The court orchestra reached its zenith under his direction. Hasse was also renowned throughout Europe for his more than forty opere serie, each based on the libretti of his friend Metastasio. Haydn and Mozart both strove to gain his favor; Bach, with his son Wilhelm Friedeman, would travel to Dresden to hear Hasse’s “pretty songs”. The end of the Seven Years War left Saxony bankrupt, and in 1763 Hasse was let go. He spent several years in Vienna and then left for Venice in 1773, where he devoted himself in particular to the composition of sacred music. For the sake of old ties, he would send the scores to Dresden for performance at the Catholic court church. The last, sent just a few months before his death, was his newly completed Mass in G, a masterful and beautiful work. Unfortunately, Hasse soon fell into oblivion, even though he was one of the most important pioneers of classical music and must be considered one of its most exemplary representatives. Recent decades have seen renewed interest, particularly in his sacred music. In this spirit we offer you his Mass in G.

Joseph Haydn (1732–1809): Mass in D minor: Missa in angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass)

Mass settings constituted a deeply satisfying area of creative output for Joseph Haydn. This is particularly true of the six late Solemn Masses that he composed annually between 1796 and 1802 for performance each September in Eisenstadt on the saint’s name day of Princess Marie Hermenegild Esterhazy. The third, from the year 1798, bore the name “angustiis”, in times of distress or difficulty. This may have been a reflection of personal circumstances, as Haydn’s compositional efforts were increasingly being hindered by illness during this period. The later appellation as the “Lord Nelson Mass”, in reference to the British admiral, is most likely related to a visit to the Esterhazy court in 1800 by the admiral himself, accompanied by his mistress Lady Hamilton, during which the Mass was performed in his honor. In the six later Masses, we see Haydn in full command of his compositional talents and at the height of his mastery. That is most certainly true of his Mass in D minor.

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