At the end of November, Beethoven’s rarely performed Missa Solemnis was on the programme in Antwerp (deSingel), Berlin (Philharmonie) and Baden-Baden (Festspielhaus). It is hard to imagine a more appropriate time to programme this work than precisely 100 years after the end of World War I.
Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is one of his last and at the same time most monumental compositions. The original intention was to have the premier in March 1819 during the enthronement of archduke Rudolph, one of Beethoven’s main sponsors, as archbishop of Olmütz (Hungary). The composition was not ready on time, however, and acquired dimensions which made it no longer suitable for a performance during mass, as a result of which it can only be performed in the profane context of normal concert halls.
Beethoven brought a universal message to humanity with this composition. The last part in particular, the Dona nobis pacem, has evolved into a long, through-composed call to peace. As such, it is ever so relevant today. It gives expression to people’s aspiration to live in peace with themselves and their environment, and inspires us all to strive for a better and peaceful world. It is hard to imagine a more appropriate time to programme this work than precisely 100 years after the end of World War I.
The concert in Berlin was actually the closing concert of the WWI centennial commemoration day, in the presence of King Philip and Queen Mathilde, and a number of German dignitaries.
To guarantee the exclusiveness and high quality of this production, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was performed in cooperation with the famous Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Choir and an excellent selection of international soloists.
Le Concert Olympique, Jan Caeyers, conductor
in cooperation with the Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Malin Hartelius, Soprano
Dame Sarah Connolly, Mezzosoprano
Steve Davislim, Tenor
Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bass