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Michael Haydn

Missa Sancti Aloysii

Vienna Boys Choir, Choralschola of the Imperial Court Chapel, Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Martin Schebesta, Elke Eckerstorfer

Johann Michael Haydn (1737–1806)
Missa Sancti Aloysii in B-Dur, MH 257
Composed on 21.12.1777

The feast of the "Holy Innocents" on December 28th was, up until the 18th century in Salzburg and other significant locations, held in a way to celebrate the symbolism of this biblical day of commemoration by only having unmarried "innocent" artists perform the holy mass. "Missa Sancti Aloysii" and "Missa sub titulo Sancti Leopoldi in festo Sanctorum Innocentium" are two works by Michael Haydn dedicated to this occasion, with both being performed regularly at the Vienna Imperial Chapel. A performance by boys-voices is of course suggested by the feasts nature. A small orchestra consisting of two violins, one bass or cello (no viola) and an organ preserves the boys' less projecting voices and helps keeping the balance. Considering this very limited instrumentation Michael Haydn did an outstanding job conveying the mass texts depth. In "Gloria" and "Credo" one comes across choral intonations characteristic for the figural church music of the 18th century taken from Gregorian choral masses. Since ministrants and choir boys would have been familiar with those, another reference to the feast of the "Holy Innocents" is made.

Dr. Karl Pfannhauser, Sebastian Bürger (red.), Translation: Patrick Malik

Conductor: Martin Schebesta
Organist: Elcke Eckerstorfer
Choir: Vienna Boys Choir, Choralschola of the Imperial Court Chapel
Orchestra: Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


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