Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Between Tradition and Innovation: Sacred Intersections and the Symphonic Impulse in Haydn's Late Masses

By Papanikolaou, Eftychia | Sacred Music, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Between Tradition and Innovation: Sacred Intersections and the Symphonic Impulse in Haydn's Late Masses


Papanikolaou, Eftychia, Sacred Music


With respect to composition, Catholic Church music up until several years ago still had much of its own special character. But nowadays operatic music also forces its way into churches everywhere, and, what is worse, [it is] the insipid Italian opera music of the new style. In Vienna, too, I found it all too conspicuous. During many a Credo or Benedictus I knew not whether perhaps I was hearing music from an Italian opera buffa. (1)

This colorful anecdote, with slight modifications, may apply to a number of contexts in western music history when church music was under indictment for its divergence from accepted musical practices and traditions. In this case, the description refers to music performed during Mass at a Viennese church in 1781. By the end of the eighteenth century, as this eyewitness account illustrates, composers had adopted styles and modes of writing for the church that, more often than not, alluded to a strong cross-fertilization between instrumental and operatic genres, in defiance of the little-observed eighteenth-century separation among church, theater, and chamber music styles. Viennese composers, in particular, had cultivated a hybrid music style, the so-called concerted mass, (2) whose musical language and formal procedures pioneered a symphonic outlook. Haydn's last six masses simultaneously encapsulate and usher in stylistic changes that helped redefine the mass as a genre in the beginning of the nineteenth century and, as a result, influenced the musical language of the romantic mass. This essay explores this little-researched line of inquiry and considers the implications of Haydn's style--which blurs the boundaries between sacred and secular, the church and the concert hall--for sacred music aesthetics in the long nineteenth century.

The Mass

Classicism inherited from previous eras the High Mass, a genre that was closely bound up with the church, a musical setting of the ordinary for liturgical use. Since the early Renaissance, the text of the Latin ordinary has constituted the most frequently-set sacred text, with the added peculiarity that it has remained unchangeable in its overall form over the centuries. For over four hundred years, ever since the first polyphonic mass settings, the liminal space between the sacred and the secular had often been crossed. It was not until the middle of the eighteenth century, however, that the previously distinct three areas of church, chamber, and theater music, started to mesh, as composers appropriated modes of writing for the church associated with secular genres, resulting in church music that exhibited little distinction between secular and sacred styles.

Late-eighteenth century "abuses" in church music (a term used throughout history whenever church music was at odds with the established aesthetics of the time) were linked to the infiltration of operatic practices and elaborate instrumental music. In his pioneering work on the early concerted mass, Bruce Mac Intyre rightly surmised that churches may be viewed as the first concert halls in Vienna. The musical activity of concerted pieces for church functions became so extreme that a later writer called them "church concerts with liturgical accompaniment." (3) Such an indictment against contemporary musical practices reflects the threat that church music was perceived to face against a traditional status quo, and compelled major theorists of the eighteenth century to redefine the role of church music as an edifying force, and as a facilitator of prayer. In his major theoretical work Gradus ad Parnassum (1725), Viennese Hofkapellmeister Johann Joseph Fux asserted that the chief purpose of church music during service was "to arouse devotion" ("zur Erweckung der Andacht"). (4) In his Critischer Musikus of 1737, Johann Adolf Scheibe argued that, "The chief purpose of church music is principally to edify the listeners, to encourage their prayer so as to thereby awaken in them a quiet and holy reverence before God's presence.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Between Tradition and Innovation: Sacred Intersections and the Symphonic Impulse in Haydn's Late Masses
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.