- If its development seems to lag behind that of Paris or London in the Middle Ages—polyphony is mentioned only in 1460— the sacred music of Vienna nevertheless shows some prescient features, such as the reference in 1260 to vernacular hymn singing and the foundation by Emperor Rudolf IV (d. 1365) of the Brotherhood of Corpus Christi to chant liturgical drama.The move of Emperor Maximilian’s Hofmusikkappelle to Vienna in 1498 marks the beginning of a long ascent to world prominence in music. Ferdinand II introduced Italian disciples of Giovanni Gabrieli and their Baroque style into the previously conservative court and sacred music after his accession in 1619. Giovanni Valentini’s (1582–1649) sepolcro Santi Risorti of 1643 began a tradition of oratorio particular to Vienna. And alongside the latest in Italian Baroque operatic church music was practiced the stile antico, especially during Lent.The two ideals competed for dominance during the 18th century. The archbishop forbad trumpets and drums during mass in 1753, but Empress Maria Theresa ignored him and favored liturgies whose music was indistinguishable from concerts. Joseph II, however, restricted operatic liturgy significantly in the 1780s. A more muted but similar controversy infected Jewish chant in the 19th century, resulting in the "Vienna model" of liturgical music engineered by Cantor Solomon Sulzer.By the turn of the 19th century the careers of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn and the growing reputation of Ludwig van Beethoven established Vienna as the leading musical city of theWestern world. But aside from isolated works such as Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis that straddled the sacred and secular, the city’s fame rested on instrumental concert music and opera. The repertory of sacred music in the great churches of St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s today is little changed, still performed at a solemn mass each Sunday by the Hofmusikkappelle consisting of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the men of the State Opera Chorus, and players of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Historical dictionary of sacred music. Joseph P. Swain. 2006.
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