Glagolitic Mass

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The Glagolitic Mass (Czech: Glagolská mše or Mša glagolskaja) (also called Missa Glagolitica or Slavonic Mass) is a composition for soloists (soprano, contralto, tenor, bass), double chorus, organ and orchestra by Leoš Janáček. The work was completed on 15 October 1926 and premiered by the Brno Arts Society, conducted by Jaroslav Kvapil, in Brno on 5 December 1927. Janáček revised the mass the next year.[1]

The Glagolitic Alphabet was an early Slavic alphabet, the predecessor of the modern Cyrillic alphabet.

Background[edit]

The text is in Old Church Slavonic, with five vocal movements that correspond to the Catholic Ordinary of the Mass, omitting "Dona nobis pacem" in the Agnus Dei. The musical origins of the work can be traced to Janáček's Latin setting of the Kyrie, Agnus Dei, and Credo for organ and chorus. This was used as a dictation exercise by his composition students in 1908.[2]

Janáček had extensive experience working with choirs, as well as writing a large amount of choral music, and this work is his finest in the genre. It begins and closes with triumphant fanfares dominated by the brass. In between these sections lies particularly vibrant and rhythmic writing for solo voices as well as choir. Before the closing Intrada, Janáček introduces a dramatic organ solo of considerable originality – a perpetuo moto of wild energy. Janáček's Glagolitic Mass is considered one of the century's masterworks and is frequently performed and recorded today.

Janáček was a strong supporter of pan-Slavism, and this mass has been viewed as a celebration of Slavic culture.

Structure[edit]


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Its eight movements are:

  1. Úvod – Introduction (orchestra)
  2. Gospodi pomilujKyrie
  3. SlavaGloria
  4. VĕrujuCredo
  5. SvetSanctus
  6. Agneče BožijAgnus Dei
  7. Varhany sólo (Postludium) – Organ solo
  8. IntradaExodus

Although this version is considered the "standard" version performed today, research into Janáček's manuscripts suggests that the Intrada was intended to be played at the beginning of the work as well, creating a symmetric nine-movement form with the Vĕruju at its center. In addition, several other sections of the work were revealed to have been simplified in meter and orchestration. Some of the movements are reworkings of Janáček's earlier compositions: the Svet, for instance, is derived from the Sanctus of the composer's own Mass in E-flat.

Orchestration[edit]

The mass is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists, double SATB choir, and an orchestra of 4 flutes (2–4 doubling piccolos), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 3 clarinets (3rd doubling bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, glockenspiel, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, tam-tam, chimes, 2 harps, celesta, organ, and strings (1st & 2nd violins, violas, cellos, and double basses).

Recordings[edit]

In film[edit]

The Glagolitic Mass was used for the music in the 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome by director Kenneth Anger.

Other composers[edit]

There are a few other compositions of this genre in existence. Other composers of a Glagolitic Mass include J. B. Foerster, Skuherský, Gretchaninov, the Prague organist Wiedermann, and more recently, in the 1950s by the Czech polymath Jan Křesadlo. These glagolitic masses were perhaps romantic expressions of so-called pan-Slavism and that of Janáček, an agnostic, may also possibly be so regarded.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dr. Theodora Strakova, editing board of Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Janacek, Supraphon, Prague, 1992
    Mša glagolskaja (Glagolitic Mass), details
  2. ^ Paul Wingfield: Janácek: Glagolitic Mass (Cambridge Music Handbooks), 1992. ISBN 978-0-521-38901-3
  3. ^ [Decca Classical 1929- 2009 by Philip Stuart]
  4. ^ "Glagolitic Mass (Musical CD, 1985)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Glagolitische Messe Taras Bulba (Musical CD, 1991)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Glagolitic mass Taras Bulba (Musical CD, 1991)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  7. ^ [Decca Classical 1929- 2009 by Philip Stuart]
  8. ^ [Decca Classical 1929- 2009 by Philip Stuart]

External links[edit]