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"Gloria" Diary 2007(2) →
On Sunday, December 2, 2007, the concert of "Gloria Ensemble and Choir Vol.15" will be performed. Here is the information of the concert. Year 2007 is the 180th anniversary of L. van Beethoven's death. So "Gloria Ensemble and Choir" will perform his "Mass in C major(Op.86)". And we also will the program of performing various types of Mass music from Gregorian chant to modern music. I belong this group as a harpsichord or organ player... What are waiting for us ? Please read the following...
NOTE : I divide "Gloria Diary 2007" as the following;
Probably, the following music is the most famous symphony in the world.
It is Ludwig. van Beethoven's fifth symphony sometimes called "Fate". This Year (Year 2007) is the 180th anniversary of the death of Ludwig van Beethoven. Our "Gloria Ensemble & Choir" is also going to perform his "Mass in C major (Op.86)". But, in comparison with "the 250th anniversary of W. A. Mozart's birth on year 2006", the feeling does not seem to run high. One reason may be that the number "180" is not as simple number as "250". Moreover, Beethoven is too much popular for us and we may feel his music as somewhat profane thing.
Of couse, we cannot notice too much that Beethoven is the most important person in the field of classical music. And, like other fans of classical music, I have been accustomed with Beethoven's music. When I was elementary school student and learning piano, I had a strong inclination toward his music, especially piano sonata. His music is the "origin point" of my classical music life. Probably, when I listen two measures (bars) arbitrary selected from Beethoven's 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, or 15 string quartets, I can appoint to which piece of music is the two measures. His music have soaked into my music life.
While, "Gloria" treats mainly religious music played with chorus and orchestra. But Beethoven was essentially instrumental musician and he composed few pieces of famous vocal music. So, although Beethoven's music is familiar for me, I, as a keyboard player of basso continuo, had few opportunities to play his music. This year's concert is such rare chance for me! I am strongly looking forward to treating Beethoven's music. Of course I've already got orchestral score and CD as the references to study. I can say that I started early in this year!(^^;)
"Mass in C major" we treat in this year is related with the 5th or 6th symphony. All of these music pieces were performed in the same concert on 1808. It belongs to, so called, his "the middle period" when Beethoven composed many masterpieces of instrumental music. And "Mass C major" has common items with his symphonies or overtures composed on this period.
For example, the last section of "Gloria in excelsis Deo" movement,
The passages appointed with rad arrows, we can find the melody of "Leonore (Op.72a)" overture composed on 1806.
And, the followings music in "Agnus Dei"
has bass process, harmony progress, arpeggio in cello, and sustained note G in high instruments in common with the following music from "Coriolan overture (Op.62)" composed on 1807. "Coriolan overture" is a music of tragedy. The "Agnus Dei (lamb of God)" is seemed to be spiritualizing the world of "Coriolan overture".
Moreover, the following music from "Credo(Creed)"
has particular rhythm consist of triplet and offbeat (in the 1st violin). It can be also seen in the finale of the 3rd symphony (Op.55, "Eroica", composed on 1803)
and the finale of the 21st piano sonata (Op.53, Waldstein, composed on 1804).
It is natural way to use the same elements as "the 3rd Symphony" or "Waldstein Piano Sonata" for expressing the contents of "Et iterum venturus est cum gloria (And he shall come again with glory)".
After seeing above things, I cannot help feeling that Beethoven was instrumental musician. Most of his important compositions are instrumental. Of course we cannot deny the fact that the most important compositions are Missa solemnis or the 9th symphony including choral parts. However, it is to be regarded as the extension of the item of music in his declining years. He was essentially instrumental composer. Did he compose his "Mass in C major" with the manner of composing symphonies or other instrumental music? So, "Mass in C major" may be familiar music for instrumental player but it may be difficult world for chorus singers, like the 9th symphony, which is often said as the music not appropriate for vocal singers.
However, it may be my misunderstanding. Keyboard of "basso continuo" is certainly instrumental part, but it was not used in Beethoven's usual instrumental music but religious music with orchestra and chorus. It is not in certain that I can use my experience of his instrumental music.