Mass No. 2 (Bruckner)
|Mass No. 2|
|by Anton Bruckner|
The votive chapel in the Linz Cathedral (Mariä-Empfängnis- Dom), with a statue of Mary to whom the cathedral is dedicated
|Dedication||Dedication of the Votivkapelle of the new Linz Cathedral|
|Performed||29 September 1869Linz –|
The Mass No. 2 in E minor, WAB 27, by Anton Bruckner is a setting of the mass ordinary for eight-part mixed choir and wind band (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets and 3 trombones).
The bishop of Linz, Franz-Josef Rudigier, had already commissioned a Festive cantata from Bruckner in 1862 to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone of the new cathedral, the Maria-Empfängnis-Dom. In 1866, he asked Bruckner for a mass to celebrate the accomplishment of the construction of the Votive Chapel of the new cathedral. Because of a delay in completing the construction, the celebration of the dedication didn't take place until three years later, on 29 September 1869.
Versions and editions
Bruckner revised the work in 1869, 1876, and 1882. Two versions of the mass are available:
- Version 1 of 1866, issued by Nowak in 1977
- Version 2 of 1882
- First edition (Doblinger, 1896), revised by Franz Schalk
- Haas edition (1940, 1949)
- Nowak edition (1959)
The differences among the two versions are described at the end of the score of the 1886 version.
The piece is based strongly on old-church music tradition, and particularly old Gregorian style singing. The Kyrie is almost entirely made up of a cappella singing for eight voices. The Gloria ends with a fugue, as in Bruckner's other masses. In the Sanctus, Bruckner uses a theme from Palestrina's Missa Brevis.
According to the Catholic practice – as also in Bruckner’s preceding Missa solemnis and Mass No. 1 – the first verse of the Gloria and the Credo is not composed and has to be intoned by the priest in Gregorian mode before the choir goes on.
The setting is divided into six parts.
- Kyrie – Ruhig Sostenuto, E minor
- Gloria – Allegro, C major
- Credo – Allegro, C major
- Sanctus – Andante, G major
- Benedictus – Moderato, C major
- Agnus Dei – Andante, E minor veering to E major
Total duration: about 40 minutes
Previously Bruckner had been criticized for "simply writing symphonies with liturgical text," and although the Cecilians were not entirely happy with the inclusion of wind instruments, "Franz Xaver Witt loved it, no doubt rationalizing the use of wind instruments as necessary under the circumstances of outdoor performance for which Bruckner wrote the piece." "The Mass in E minor ... is a work without parallel in either 19th- or 20th-century church music."
About 100 recordings of Bruckner's Mass No. 2 have been issued.
Version 1 (1866)
There is as yet only one music-school performance publicly available:
- Hans Hauseither, choir and instrumental ensemble of the BORG Wien 1, CD: issue of the BORG, 1996
Version 2 (1882)
Matthew Best's more recent recording with the Corydon Singers has been critically acclaimed. Other excellent recordings, according to Hans Roelofs, are i.a. those by Roger Norrington, Philippe Herreweghe, Frieder Bernius, Helmuth Rilling and Winfried Toll.
- Eugen Jochum, choir and members of the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, LP: DG 2530 139, 1971 – CD: DG 423 127-2 (Box set of 4 CD)
- Roger Norrington, Schütz Choir London, Philip Jones Wind Ensemble CD: London/Decca 430365, 1973
- Matthew Best, Corydon Singers and English Chamber Orchestra Wind Ensemble, CD: Hyperion CDA 66177, 1985
- Philippe Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale Gent & Chapelle Royale Paris, Ensemble Musique oblique, CD: Harmonia Mundi France HMC 901322, 1989
- Frieder Bernius, Kammerchor Stuttgart & Deutsche Bläserphilharmonie, CD: Sony Classical SK 48037, 1991
- Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, 1996: CD: Hänssler 98.119 (with Te Deum and Psalm 150)
- Winfried Toll, Camerata Vocale Freiburg, brass players of L'arpa festante, CD: Ars Musici 232828, 2008
- A live performance by the Dresdner Kreuzchor & Thomanerchor (2001) can be heard on YouTube: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus & Agnus Dei
- A live performance by the Universitätschor, München (2011) can be heard on YouTube: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei
- Anton Bruckner – Critical Complete Edition: Requiem, Masses & Te Deum
- Leopold Nowak, Messe e-Moll Fassung 1866 – Studienpartitur, pp. 3-11, Vienna, 1977
- Hawkshaw (2004), p. 50
- Strimple, p.48
- Commented discography of Mass No. 2 by Hans Roelofs
- Lovallo, p. 28
- Johnson, p. 361
- Max Auer, Anton Bruckner als Kirchenmusiker, Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg, 1927, pp. 111–136
- A. Peter Brown, The second golden age of the Viennese symphony: Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák, Mahler, and selected contemporaries Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, 2002
- Paul Hawkshaw, "An anatomy of change: Anton Bruckner's Revisions to the Mass in F minor" Bruckner Studies edited by Timothy L. Jackson and Paul Hawkshaw, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997
- Paul Hawkshaw, "Bruckner's large sacred compositions" The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner edited by John Williamson, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004
- Paul Hawkshaw, Foreword Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 18: Messe F-Moll: Studienpartitur, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Vienna, 2005
- Keith William Kinder, The Wind and Wind-Chorus Music of Anton Bruckner Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 2000
- Timothy Jackson, "Bruckner's 'Oktaven'", Music & Letters Vol. 78, No. 3, 1997
- Stephen Johnson, "Anton Bruckner, Masses Nos. 1–3" 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die, Rye Matthew (editor), Universe, New York, 2008
- Lee T Lovallo, "Mass no. 2 in e minor" – Anton Bruckner: a Discography, Rowman & Littlefield, New York, 1991
- Leopold Nowak, Preface to Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 17: Messe E-Moll: Studienpartitur, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Christl Schönfeldt (translator), Vienna, 1960
- Hans Ferdinand Redlich, Preface to Mass in F minor (revision of 1881), Ernst Eulenburg, Ltd, London, 1967
- Hans-Hubert Schönzeler, Bruckner, Marion Boyars, London, 1978
- Robert Simpson, The Essence of Bruckner: An essay towards the understanding of his music, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1967
- Nick Strimple, Choral music in the nineteenth century, Hal Leonard, New York, 2008
- Cornelis van Zwol, Anton Bruckner – Leven en Werken, Thot, Bussum (Netherlands), 2012. ISBN 90-686-8590-2
- Derek Watson, Bruckner, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1975