Deutsche Messe (Schubert)

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This article is about Schubert's mass setting. For the Lutheran service, see Deutsche Messe.
Deutsche Messe
by Franz Schubert
Deutsche Messe.jpg
The autograph of the first page of the work, showing the movement "Zum Eingang" (Introit)
Catalogue D 872
Year 1827 (1827)
Form Mass
Text Johann Philipp Neumann
Language German
Movements 8, with an appendix
Vocal SATB choir
Instrumental wind 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, 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
  2. "Zum Gloria" Mit Majestät, B-flat major, common time. The scoring of this movement includes an additional 2 trumpets.
  3. "Zum Evangelium und Credo" Nicht zu langsam, G major, 6/8
  4. "Zum Offertorium" Sehr langsam, C major, 3/4
  5. "Zum Sanctus" Sehr langsam, E-flat major, 3/4
  6. "Nach der Wandlung" (After the consecration) Sehr langsam, G major, common time
  7. "Zum Agnus Dei" Mäßig, B-flat major, 6/8
  8. "Schlußgesang" (Recessional hymn) Nicht zu langsam, F major, 3/4
  9. "Anhang" (Appendix): "Das Gebet des Herrn" (The Lord's Prayer) Mäßig, G major, 6/8


  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.


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