Thursday, December 30, 2010

Falling In Love With the Mass In Time of War - Missa in tempore belli

Last night Oklahoma State was just killing Arizona so my mind wandered. I started listening to Haydn's famous Missa in tempore belli . That is "ass in Time of War."It is quite something and amde joyable evening.

I studied some of the history of this Mass and many people say Haydn was doing a anti war Mass. Well I am not sure of that. I don't think many people are pro-war but the evidence here looks slim that this is an anti war piece trying to prove a political point in my view. Still the fear of war and the evil it brings can be found in the piece. Chances are Haydn in Austria was hearing the French Cannon shot as he was perhaps composing this piece .

Still music is just not just the property of the creator. The fact that this was used in the famous Mass for Peace at the National Cathedral shows how this powerful Mass can touch people in different ways and with perhaps with different views. Regardless I think Haydn's intentions here cannot be found with clarity.However who cares!! It is a wonderful piece.
The Angus Dei is perhaps the most striking with it's use of the timpani aka kettledrums. One is a tad shocked by the militaristic overtones but it does not come off as sacrilegious to me. It indeed seems to capture the plea of the Angus Deoiprayer. The piece is not of course all dark and foreboding. Indeed the Angus Dei itself ends on a rather joyful note.

You can download individual parts of the Mass here. I recommend listening to the Angus Dei. For those that want the simple English translation of the Angus Dei go here.

You can follow the score of the Angus Dei (which is pretty easy ) used here by going to this pdf files located here.

It must have been something hearing this at the time. Ah we need to get serious about bringing back this sacred Music. By the way if you attend a traditional Latin Mass you can hear the traditional collect for times of war whenever the priests thinks it is apt to use them. . Father Z a few years back had a post on them here.

Regardless of your feeling on how Liturgy and the various facets of war mix this is a nice piece to go out and download or buy. If you do so download the scores to follow along.
You might want to look for another recording. This is fair but I don't think gets the majesty and awe of the music and liturgy. ALSO CRANK IT UP


Andy said...

"That is 'ass in Time of War.'"

Think this might have been a typo. :)

Hayden is great. I have a number of his masses on cd. Though I'm not positive I have this one.

Mozart's masses are by far my favorites.

James H said...


Yeah I agree I like Mozart a lot. I like this one a great deal because for me that is trying to pick up following and listening to the latin I can pick it up.

I like this one because it is stirring and very spiritual but is not so overwhelming