Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria, gloria in all kind of shapes and sizes. Performed by the big names on Deutsche Grammophon, recorded in the early sixties.

One of these Gloriae I want to examine in a bit more detail: the Gloria from Mass nr 10 in C major by Joseph Haydn, the so called Paukenmesse. Haydn wrote this is 1796, when the Napoleonic troops were threatening his native country of Austria. Haydn wrote at the end of the score: Missa in tempore belli (Mass in time of war), which led to the assumption that Haydn wrote it as protest against the war.

I haven’t heard the work completely, and I am no specialist, but I think this says more about the feelings of the musicologists studying the work than about Haydn or his intentions. There is no proof of this. Moreover, the mass is written in C major, not a key associated with sadness. Nor is the music sad or rebellious.

Probably a lot of that projecting is happening in the liner notes of this record, when it is written that [the Mass in time of war] appears at times to be overcast by disquiet and apprehension. This was written in 1965, when memories of the WWII were still fresh in everybody’s mind.

An interesting work in itself by the way, easiest the best one on this record.

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