Audio files of Franz Josef Haydn’s “Missa in Tempore Belli” (Mass in Time of War) from SSP 110th Anniversary Concert “Crown Him with Many Crowns” are now available for download.
Stephanie Quintin, Soprano
Patricia Lim, Alto
Conrado Ong III, Tenor
Erwin Lim, Bass
SSP Church and Chancel Choirs
Manila Symphony Orchestra – Chamber Orchestra
Armando Salarza, Organist
Celia Yu Ong, Music Director and Conductor
ABOUT “Missa in Tempore Belli”
(From the Program Notes of “Crown Him with Many Crowns”)
Franz Josef Haydn, internationally acclaimed artist of his time, was born in Austria in the year 1732. Being a devoted Christian, he marked the beginning of his musical works with the words “In nomine Domini” (In the name of the Lord) and ended them with “Laus Deo” (Praise be to God).
It was in 1796 that Haydn composed the “Missa in Tempore Belli” (Mass in Time of War). This was a time in Austrian history when the nation was defending itself and mobilizing its troops for war. It is said to be struggling in hostile engagements and dealing with the fear of invasion.
Thus, Haydn’s piece of work was a reflection of the troubled mood of the times. “No Austrian was to speak of peace until the enemy has been driven back to its borders,” decreed the government.
References to battle are in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei movements. This mass also has joyful tones bespeaking hope and inspiration in many parts. These are enhanced by orchestral sounds, among which are the timpani, strings and wind instruments like the trumpet.
The Kyrie opens slowly, moving towards its theme, and is like a symphony in sonata form. The Gloria has its vivace-adagio-allegro, always deeply felt, with the much anticipated baritone-solo and the cello part. It is a choral symphony.
The Credo strongly declares the Christian faith, “rhythmic, joyous,” and with conviction. Very interesting are the different vocal parts as they enter, with each part singing different words of the text. The Sanctus slowly builds to a forte in the spirited “pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua” (heaven and earth are full of Thy glory). It then moves to the refined “osana in excelsis.” The Benedictus is characterized by the short phrases of the solo-quartet, said to be suggestive of the unsettling time of war.
Agnus Dei continues to depict a sense of “foreboding and anxiety,” a cry for mercy and a longing for peace. The music then “brightens up” and finally ends with a victorious celebration of peace in “dona nobis pacem” (grant us peace).