Hyperion Records

Mass No 2 in E minor
composer
1866, revised 1876/1882; dedicated fo Joseph Franz Rüdiger, Bishop of Linz
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Recordings
'Bruckner: Mass & Motets' (CDA67629)
Bruckner: Mass & Motets
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67629  Last few CD copies remaining  
'Bruckner: Mass in E minor' (CDH55277)
Bruckner: Mass in E minor
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55277  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Bruckner: Masses' (CDS44071/3)
Bruckner: Masses
Buy by post £16.50 CDS44071/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Movement 1: Kyrie
Track 3 on CDA67629 [6'10] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 4 on CDH55277 [7'56] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 4 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [7'56] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Gloria
Track 4 on CDA67629 [5'47] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 5 on CDH55277 [6'44] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [6'44] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Credo
Track 5 on CDA67629 [9'05] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 6 on CDH55277 [10'50] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 6 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [10'50] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Sanctus
Track 6 on CDA67629 [3'28] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 7 on CDH55277 [3'38] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 7 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [3'38] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 5: Benedictus
Track 7 on CDA67629 [6'02] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 8 on CDH55277 [6'38] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 8 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [6'38] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
Track 8 on CDA67629 [6'20] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 9 on CDH55277 [5'59] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 9 on CDS44071/3 CD2 [5'59] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Mass No 2 in E minor
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Mass No 2 in E minor, with wind accompaniment, was written largely as a sop to the Cecilians, an austere group within the Roman Catholic Church who objected to complexity in liturgical music and deplored the involvement of an orchestra (would they really have accepted the wind instruments?). The work’s concern with slow, floating counterpoint, while referring to Palestrina, yet anticipates the deliberation of Bruckner’s own later processes, and the work conveys a sublimity inaccessible to its companions in D minor and F minor, admirable though they are. This can be felt at once in the opening Kyrie, largely unaccompanied except for the intermittent use of horns and trombones. Long suspensions and clear harmony create a sense of space. In the central section, ‘Christe eleison’, there is more movement and a climax; then the Kyrie returns, this time to make its own climax before fading into vaulted heights.

The Gloria and Credo, on the other hand, are essentially classical allegros, with contrasts of tempo and style dictated by the text. For the most part Bruckner is revelling in the athletic energy familiar from his great predecessors Haydn and Beethoven, but with textures simpler and more spare and rhythms blunter and more naïve. Both movements are in C major and contain central contrasts, the Gloria having a quiet section on ‘qui tollis peccata mundi’ with typical horn phrases, and the Credo a simple but profound treatment of ‘et incarnatus est’ and ‘Crucifixus’, a stream of perfectly formed, dignified melody of great beauty. The Gloria ends with a short but trenchant chromatic fugato on ‘Amen’, and the Credo (whose main theme anticipates strikingly the sturdy power of the scherzo of the eighth symphony of more than twenty years later) reaches its apex in a broad and mighty cadence.

It is in the Sanctus that Palestrina’s influence (in the form of a quotation from the Missa brevis of 1570) is clearest. A two-part canon is enveloped in eight-part counterpoint as a great crescendo is built. The whole movement lasts only a few minutes but has a power of suggestion out of all proportion to its dimensions; such a slow crescendo as this begins some of Bruckner’s greatest symphonic movements, and the tribute to Palestrina is also a glance to the future, not only Bruckner’s own, but also to such things as the magnificent opening pages of Sibelius’s seventh symphony.

The gentle and subtle Benedictus is in full sonata form, its development deeply modulated and its coda a bright burst on ‘Hosanna in excelsis’. The final Agnus Dei delivers the customary threefold prayer, each time as a crescendo, the last quietened to make way for the hushed ‘dona nobis pacem’, perhaps the most beautiful music in the whole work, which is without doubt the deepest and most concentrated of Bruckner’s Masses.

from notes by Robert Simpson © 1985

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDH55277 track 8
Benedictus
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-86-17708
Duration
6'38
Recording date
1 April 1985
Recording venue
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Bruckner: Mass in E minor & other works (CDA66177)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: June 1986
    Deletion date: March 2006
    Superseded by CDH55277
  2. Bruckner: Mass in E minor (CDH55277)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: June 2007
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
  3. Bruckner: Masses (CDS44071/3)
    Disc 2 Track 8
    Release date: November 1996
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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