Glagolitic Mass

(Msa glagoljskaja)
   Symphonic setting of a mass ordinary in Church Slavonic by Leoš Janáček (3 July 1854, Hukvaldy, Moravia–12 August 1928, Moravská Ostrava). "Glagolitic" is one of the two scripts used for the Old Church Slavonic introduced by the ninth-century missionaries Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The Cecilian movement in Moravia encouraged its study in the 19th century, but Janáček, an agnostic, wanted to set the ordinary chiefly as a nationalistic expression, not as a liturgical composition. He used a carefully edited text in Cyrillic script, despite the title, as only a few scholars could read Glagolitic.
   The Glagolitic Mass premiered on 5 December 1927 in Brno. Last-minute changes by the composer and subsequent editions to the text and music make Universal Edition’s first published version of April 1928 controversial. It appears that Janáček intended a concert performance to comprise nine movements: an opening instrumental "Intrada," a second instrumental "Úvod" (introduction), the five ordinary texts "Gospodi pomiluj" (Lord, have mercy), "Slava" (Glory), "Veruju" (I believe), "Svet" (Holy), "Agnece Bozij" (Lamb of God), an organ solo, and lastly a repetition of "Intrada." The score calls for four vocal soloists (SATB), an organ soloist, a large chorus, symphony orchestra, and requires about 45 minutes to perform.
   See also Hanuš, Jan.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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