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BRUCKNER Messe

Bruckner Windhaager Mass


Released December 10, 2020

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Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)


Mass in C (Windhaager) for alto, two horns and organ (1842)

Architect and builder of monumental symphonic cathedrals, our composer began building small musical chapels, such as this brief but heralding work made by a teacher’s assistant who would become one of the most original and grandiloquent composers of his time.

In 1840, at the age of seventeen and after completing his school teacher training, our composer obtained an appointment as a teacher’s assistant in Windhaag, a small town in the north-eastern corner of the Mühlviertel region, in Upper Austria. He taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and singing. Of course he also taught violin at school, and played the organ in services at the little church in the village.

Right there, our composer acted as a sacristan and bell-ringer to announce day-to-day ecclesiastical services. In this religious environment, which was always present in his life, the need for music arose for a short mass, and the work was entrusted to Bruckner.

The musical forces at hand were less than modest: two chapel attendants, who were amateur horn players, and the choir soloist, Maria Jobst, whose beautiful voice, it is said, our composer deeply admired.

The Windhaag Mass was composed between the fall of 1841 and December 1842. The original autographed parts are housed in Wels Stadtmuseum and are undated. The feeling of solemnity that Bruckner conveys in this work can be heard in many passages, as well as the seasoned harmony that will distinguish the future work of this simple man, creator of aesthetic and musical greatness.

A.D.E.