commentary to opus 16

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Missa Cantabo Domino for 4 part mixed Choir a cappella, op. 16 (1958)

I. Kyrie

II. Gloria

III. Credo

IV. Sanctus

V. Agnus Dei


Duration: 14 Minutes

Publisher: Schott Music C 53087 / ISMN: M-001-15431-4

Conventus Musicus CM 103

Video: Works by Hummel on youtube


The Missa Cantabo Domino, op. 16 for four-part mixed choir a cappella was composed in 1958 for a celebration of the Mass liturgy by a catholic student association in Freiburg im Breisgau. The composition was required to be comfortably performable for an amateur choir. For this reason, it is a model of brevity and terseness and, with a few exceptions, does not use text repetition.
The Kyrie is in three sections; at the end of the movement the musical material of the Christe is heard again as a kind of coda.
In the Gloria, the bass part with chorale-like melodic ideas stands in contrast to the choir as a whole, which recites in homophonic blocks.
The long text of the Credo is, in the style of psalmody, woven into three modal chord patterns. Thus a high degree of objectivity is achieved, reinforced by the presentation of the individual statements of the confession by alternating choirs.
In the Sanctus, on the other hand, sections characterised by canons and by homophonic treatment provide contrasting elements.
The three-fold prayer of the Agnus Dei begins a whole tone higher each time, the Dona nobis pacem being repeated three times as a kind of closing theme.

In performance (particularly in the Gloria and Credo), great attention should be paid to fluent rhythm taking into account a natural accentuation of words, where-by the note values remain as in the Gregorian chant. The dynamics are to a large extent subordinate to the text declamation.

Bertold Hummel


Musik und Altar, January, 1959

In advance, Bertold Hummel's Missa "Cantabo Domino" has to be mentioned as a pleasing exception. Here the call of the Church for a primacy of the text is most happily united with a contemporary concept of sonority and ease of performance. In addition, the frequent doubling of parts and versicular repetitions along with the easily-learnt lines - always in optimal registers - guarantee a short rehearsal time. The expert will find (in the Credo) echoes of Stravinsky's Mass. The score is exemplary in its plan and legibility and can also be recommended for smaller choirs.
H.L. Schilling

Weil am Rhein, 1958

On the occasion of a Sunday visit to Weil, the "Sacred Choir" of the Pedagogical Academy in Freiburg sung during the high Mass of the Pax-Christi-Curatorium the new Mass composition "Cantabo Domino" by the young Freiburg composer Bertold Hummel. This work, written for four-part mixed choir, was fitted perfectly to the liturgical concept of the service and formed together with the Gregorian chants for the Proper sung by the Schola an intentionally coherent stylistic unity. Hummel's work is compact in its melodic formulation and keeps strictly to the task of presenting the text comprehensibly; it always aware that proclaiming the Word must be the starting point and the constantly sought focus for music for liturgical purposes. The harmonic component is somewhat subordinate to other functions. In the Credo, where the four voices move in unified rhythm through a long chain of chords, the harmony takes on more importance.

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