Haydn, Franz Joseph

(31 March 1732, Rohrau, Austria – 31 May 1809, Vienna)
   Known as the "father of the symphony" and "father of the string quartet," Haydn also made important contributions to the sacred repertory that survive mainly in the concert repertory of choral societies: 15 masses, 24 motets, and six oratorios. The best known of the earlier masses is the Cäcilienmesse (1766), a "Neapolitan" or "cantata" mass that breaks the texts into selfcontained movements. His last six masses were composed at the request of his patron, Nikolaus Eszterháza (the younger), whose family Haydn served for most of his career, to celebrate the name day of the Princess Maria Hermenegild on 8 September. All have entered the repertory:
   • Mass in C major (Paukenmesse; Missa in Tempore Belli, 1796)
   • Mass in B-flat major (Heiligmesse, 1796, performed 1797)
   • Mass in D minor ("Lord Nelson Mass," 1798)
   • Mass in B-flat major (Theresienmesse, 1799)
   • Mass in B-flat major (Schöpfungsmesse, 1801)
   • Mass in B-flat major (Harmoniemesse, 1802)
   These are symphonic masses scored usually for four vocal soloists, four-voiced choir, and symphony orchestra, and last about 45 minutes. Haydn composed each of the ordinary prayers as a continuous movement, the shorter ones in sonata style. The longer ones have changes of tempo and texture to express the text and articulate structure.
   The Creation is among the most frequently sung of all oratorios;
   The Seasons is also frequently performed, and The Seven Last
   Words of Our Saviour from the Cross less so.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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