Posted by: rbbadger | April 24, 2009

Osternacht

Austria boasts once of the most impressive musical legacies of any country.  Mozart and Haydn were both native sons.  Beethoven, born in Bonn, Germany settled there as did another German transplant, Johannes Brahms.  Anton Bruckner was also a native of Austria.  Franz Schubert was a native of the Vienna area itself.  Antonio Vivaldi died in Vienna as well.  Tragically, Vivaldi’s gravesite was lost when the Austrian Imperial Government decided to put its military college on the site of a graveyard.  Nobody really knew who Vivaldi was back then, as his memory had long faded.

Many of the great Austro-German composers wrote music for the Church.  Many of the Catholic parishes in Vienna and elsewhere make use these great pieces of music on a regular basis.  One of the most celebrated is the Stefansdom, Cathedral of the Archbishop of Vienna.  This magnificent church, which I have seen, was the site of Mozart’s funeral.  Franz Schubert wrote a setting of the Mass in German which is still beloved by many.  This video is of the Gloria and is being sung at the Easter Vigil, the Mass celebrated on the evening of Easter.  The beginning of the Mass takes place in a darkened church.  It is not until after a long series of readings take place that the Gloria is sung and the lights switched back on.  Here you will hear the fanfares and see the darkened Cathedral suddenly illuminated.

The Deutsche Messe of Franz Schubert is still a popular Mass setting in Germany and Austria. 

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