Friday, January 26, 2007

No Haydn from the Glory

 Joseph Haydn was a piviotal figure in classical music.  He lived from 1732 to 1809, was friends with Mozart, and is often refered to as the father of modern symphony.  He was born in Austria, and other than a brief stint in London, lived there all of his life.  He was a devout Catholic, who prayed the rosary when he was having trouble composing, and began each manuscript with "in nomine Domini" ("in the name of the Lord") and ended with "Laus deo" ("praise be to God").

He was apparently also human, and had one or more children with Luigia Polzelli, a singer in the Eszterházy establishment with whom he carried on a long-term love affair, outside of his childless and loveless marriage.

The sacred music that he wrote was extraordinary.  His masses were bold, dramatic and of a temper that speaks to a deep, living faith.  Unfortuately, they were barred from liturgical use by the reform of Church music instituted by Pope Pius X, in some instances on account of the alterations and repetitions effected in the text, and in others because of the operatic character of the music itself, which Mendelssohn is reported to have styled "scandalously gay".  Perhaps one of my Catholic readers can advise in the comments if that is still the case today.

All of this is really a lead in to point you to a fine performance of The Lord Nelson Mass as well as the Little Organ Mass that's available on for free streaming or low cost download.

The Kyrie alone is worth the trip.

So listen, enjoy, and be uplifted.


Blogger class-factotum said...

The Rosary can be very useful! I recite it to myself as a form of meditation and at times when I am trying to keep from saying something nasty or inappropriate.

10:51 AM  

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