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Franz Schubert

Mass in C-Major, D 452

Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle", Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Martin Schebesta, Jeremy Joseph


Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Mass in C major, D 452

Before Franz Schubert became a choirboy in the k.k. Court Orchestra in 1808, where he also received sound compositional training from Antonio Salieri, he was decisively influenced by the Viennese parish of Lichtental. Here, several family members were involved in church music. He was thus able to become actively acquainted with traditional Viennese church music at a very young age, to develop individually within the safe genre norms, and to use this place as a first platform for presenting his compositional work.

In the early 19th century, church music had already become the concern of the citizenry in many places. An appropriate performance or visible participation became an important matter of prestige. In the Lichtental church, Schubert had at his disposal a rather large and committed church music ensemble with up to 60 participants. It was probably here that the C major Mass, the last of his four early masses, was performed for the first time. It was written in 1816, conceived as a "Missa brevis", i.e. a short and simple mass. It was probably composed for his first teacher, the Regens chori of the Lichtental church, Michael Holzer. It was the only one of his masses to appear in print during Schubert's lifetime, in 1825.

The mass is very compactly laid out, with small instrumentation. But even the simple homophonic sections captivate the listener with their skilfully sung melodies. The slow beginning of the Sanctus (only 7 bars long) seems more like an introduction that builds up to the lively Hosanna. Maria Helfgott

Translation: Godwin Gundacker using


Conductor: Martin Schebesta
Organist: Jeremy Joseph
Choir: Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna State Opera men's choir, "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle"
Orchestra: Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Celebrant: Peter Schipka

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Trombones and Flutes of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra