Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sunday Taster: Haydn's Nelson Mass

Bickerstaff here. Dr. Swift is on holiday this weekend, but he has commanded me to produce for your edification the first Sunday Taster.

Haydn's Nelson Mass is one of Dr. Swift's favourite choral pieces--perhaps because the screaming soprano in the Kyrie reminds him of himself.

It is a piece of great weight, and builds, drawing in orchestra, organ and choral parts in a beautiful and building rhythm, drawing to a climax with the cry of the whole world (at 2.40 and following in this recording), when the soprano floats over the agonised orchestra, repeating with a thud the desire of all Creation:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy--upon us, and upon the whole world.

I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life.

This is most certainly true.

Dr. Martin Luther--The Little Catechism


Neil Welton said...

We can all say Amen to this.

Bearhunter said...

Except the left-footers, obviously.

Swift said...

The Haydn is unimpeachably left-footed, Nimrod.

And even Dr. Luther is getting more popular these days, since we have a German Pope.

Bearhunter said...

I was of course referring to the L*ther (as my mother pronounced it). I have no issue with Haydn, apart from an occasional tweeness. I have not, for example, the opinion of him that Tchaikovsky had of Brahms...