commentary to op 18c
Missa brevis (without Credo) for Soprano and Alto Voices with Organ, op. 18c (1957/1975)
IV. Agnus Dei
performance: November 2, 1975, Würzburg, Kiliansdom
Duration: 12 MinutesPublisher: Schott Music C 54093 / ISMN 979-0-001-17437-4
Foreword (Schott Music C 54093)
Hummel (1925 - 2002) composed the first version of the Missa brevis in
1957 while employed as director of music in the parish of St. Konrad in Freiburg/Breisgau
to provide suitable literature for church services for those Sundays when the
choir was somewhat depleted in numbers. Initially the composition was scored for
precentor, unison choir, the congregation and organ (Op.
18b). This current extended version Op. 18c for soprano, alto and organ was
created in 1975 for the girls' choir of the Cathedral of Würzburg.
unadorned cantabile vocal lines are complemented by the gently flowing organ accompaniment
to produce a harmonically charming tonal texture. The ordinary of the Mass, Kyrie
and Agnus Dei, have a tripartite structure and are composed canonically.
The initially ascending vocal lines lend the Kyrie a floating character.
In the Gloria, the music is divided between schola and choir, although
the melodic motifs of both groups repeat themselves. The recitation of the text
stands particularly in the foreground with the result that this section of the
composition is very much orientated to the clarity of the text and linguistic
rhythms. The Sanctus and Benedictus are based on two thematic concepts:
one section with lines progressing stepwise is contrasted with a passage containing
great popularity of the Mass with both listeners and performing choirs has been
generated by the singableness of the work and the intuition on the part of the
composer for the texts of the ordinary of the Mass. The current new edition provides
a meticulously edited and clearly laid out score of the work. This setting of
the Mass is suitable for children's and youth choirs as a surmountable introduction
to part singing.
Schnell, Limburg, September 2010 (Translation: Lindsay Chalmers-Gerbracht)