Deutsche Messe (Schubert)

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Deutsche Messe
by Franz Schubert
Deutsche Messe.jpg
The autograph of the first page of the work, showing the movement "Zum Eingang" (Introit)
CatalogueD 872
Year1827 (1827)
TextJohann Philipp Neumann
Movements8, with an appendix
VocalSATB choir
Instrumentalwind instruments, timpani and basso continuo
Portrait of Franz Schubert by Franz Eybl (1827)

Deutsche Messe (German Mass), D 872, is a mass composed by Franz Schubert in 1827. Its text is not the Latin liturgical text, but a sequence of poems in German by Johann Philipp Neumann who commissioned the work. It was originally scored for SATB choir, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and basso continuo. It is also known as the Gesänge zur Feier des heiligen Opfers der Messe ("Songs for the celebration of the holy offering of the Mass"), and the "Wind Mass" due to its orchestration of primarily wind instruments.[1]


The Deutsche Messe stems from a tradition of low masses, settings of religious texts in vernacular languages in Austria and southern Germany.[2] It was commissioned by Johann Philipp Neumann, who was interested in simple music designed to appeal to "the widest possible congregation".[3] Neumann wrote the German hymns, which Schubert scored in a block-chordal, homophonic style, suitable for congregational singing.[4] Schubert commenced the work in December 1826, completing and publishing it in 1827.[5] Neumann had previously written the libretto for Schubert's unfinished opera, Shakuntala.

Schubert intended it for usage in Catholic church service.[6] However, censorship prevented this from taking place; as an unauthorised German translation of the Mass, it was not approved for liturgical use.[7] The work has since gained popularity, and has been translated into other languages.[8] Richard Proulx arranged a version in English.[5]


The work contains nine movements, including eight hymns and an appendix. Most of the work is set in a moderate (mäßig) to slow (langsam) tempo, reflecting the solemnity of the service as well as consideration of church acoustics.[9]

Each of the hymns has a Latin counterpart in the Order of Mass. Performance time is approximately 40 minutes, if performed as a cycle with all the verses.[1]

  1. Zum Eingang (At the Introit) Mäßig, F major, common time: "Wohin soll ich mich wenden"
  2. Zum Gloria Mit Majestät, B-flat major, common time: "Ehre, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe"
  3. Zum Evangelium und Credo Nicht zu langsam, G major, 6/8: "Noch lag die Schöpfung formlos da"
  4. Zum Offertorium Sehr langsam, C major, 3/4: "Du gabst, o Herr, mir Sein und Leben"
  5. Zum Sanctus Sehr langsam, E-flat major, 3/4: "Heilig, heilig, heilig"
  6. Nach der Wandlung (After the consecration) Sehr langsam, G major, common time: "Betrachtend Deine Huld und Güte"
  7. Zum Agnus Dei Mäßig, B-flat major, 6/8: "Mein Heiland, Herr und Meister"
  8. Schlußgesang (Recessional hymn) Nicht zu langsam, F major, 3/4: "Herr, Du hast mein Flehn vernommen"
  9. Anhang (Appendix): Das Gebet des Herrn (The Lord's Prayer) Mäßig, E minor ending in parallel major, 6/8: "Anbetend Deine Macht und Größe"


  1. ^ a b Shrock 2009, p. 385.
  2. ^ Glover 1990, pp. 70–71.
  3. ^ Newbould 1999, p. 284.
  4. ^ Newbould 1999, p. 285.
  5. ^ a b Glover 1990, p. 71.
  6. ^ Biesinger 2006, p. 690.
  7. ^ Hanson 1985, p. 46.
  8. ^ Foley & Bangert 2000, p. 276.
  9. ^ Montgomery 1994, p. 237.


  • Shrock, Dennis (2009). Choral Repertoire. ISBN 9780199716623.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Glover, Raymond F., ed. (1990). The Hymnal 1982 Companion. ISBN 9780898696868.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Newbould, Brian (1999). Schubert: The Music and the Man. ISBN 9780520219571.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Biesinger, Joseph A. (2006). Germany: A reference guide from the Renaissance to the present. ISBN 9780816074716.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Hanson, Alice Mary (1985). Musical Life in Biedermeier Vienna. ISBN 9780521257992.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Foley, Edward; Bangert, Mark Paul (2000). Worship Music: A concise dictionary. ISBN 9780814658895.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Montgomery, David (1994). "Tempo, Time, and Character". Franz Schubert's Music in Performance: Compositional ideals, notational intent, historical realities, pedagogical foundations. ISBN 9781576470251.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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