Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the BBC Proms
This summer the Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and John Eliot Gardiner, alongside an outstanding quartet of soloists, performed Beethoven’s late masterpiece at three of Europe’s most prestigious festivals. In particular, we were humbled and honoured that we were able to perform Beethoven’s Missa solemnis at the BBC Proms on Wednesday 7 September 2022. We hope this performance was able to bring comfort to members of the public both live at the Proms and in the coming days following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
To listen to the Prom, please click here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001bkmc
‘From the heart – may it go again – to the heart!’
Beethoven’s words scrawled at the top of the manuscript score of his Missa solemnis express the depth of emotion involved in its composition. The piece began as a commission for a mass from Beethoven’s patron and former pupil, Archduke Rudolph, but emerged eventually – much later than planned – as a monumental and passionately personal work, which wrestles with the conventions of the liturgical text and the composer’s attitude to religion.
The Monteverdi Choir and ORR will shine in this demanding score which they have tackled many times since their ground-breaking 1989 recording, encompassing the lyricism of the Kyrie, the energetic Gloria, the virtuosic fugue of the Credo and ethereally beautiful Benedictus. The final Agnus Dei, a desperate plea for peace in the midst of the horrors of war, sounds as timely now as it did in Beethoven’s day.
The outstanding soloists Lucy Crowe and Ann Hallenberg, frequent collaborators of the ensembles, were joined by two of the most exciting young voices of the moment, Giovanni Sala and William Thomas. Renowned British bass Matthew Rose replaced William Thomas for the Wroclaw performance only.