Hyperion Records

Mass No 1 in D minor
first performed in Linz Cathedral 20 November 1864, conducted by the composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

'Bruckner: Mass in D minor & Te Deum' (CDH55356)
Bruckner: Mass in D minor & Te Deum
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55356  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Bruckner: Masses' (CDS44071/3)
Bruckner: Masses
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £16.50 CDS44071/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus
Track 9 on CDH55356 [1'50] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 9 on CDS44071/3 CD1 [1'50] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 5: Benedictus
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
Track 11 on CDH55356 [8'41] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 11 on CDS44071/3 CD1 [8'41] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Mass No 1 in D minor
The forces required for the Mass No 1 in D minor are soprano, contralto, tenor and bass soloists, four-part chorus, organ and orchestra. The work begins with a gentle chromatic phrase, mostly on the strings, over a pedal point which anchors it firmly in the stated key. The chromatic inflexions continue into the first choral entry, lending an atmosphere of awe to the plea for God’s mercy and leading to a rising scale, one of several ideas which recur to give unity to the work as a whole. This scale reappears, ascending or descending, in four of the subsequent movements—the Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. After a similarly chromatic ‘Christe eleison’, the second Kyrie features the striding octaves so often encountered in Bruckner’s music.

In common with the short, wind-accompanied E minor Mass, but unlike the great Mass in F minor, the opening phrases of the Gloria and Credo are set aside for the traditional plainsong intonation. Both movements are bold affirmations of faith, and both are symphonic and on a massive scale. The Gloria moves from D major to A flat for the phrase ‘agnus Dei, Filius Patris’, though it is a measure of Bruckner’s tonal fluidity that he retains the original key signature. The chorus sings ‘miserere nobis’ to a melody which appears also in the third and ninth symphonies, while the lofty final fugue, to the single word ‘Amen’, is a climactic point.

The Credo, the most purely symphonic of all the movements, is also in D major and displays the same range of expression, the same fusion of the dramatic and the contemplative, as the preceding Gloria. The first choral entry is a confident phrase containing powerful octaves reminiscent of the second Kyrie. The music here is more chord-based than contrapuntal, but at ‘et incarnatus est’ the soloists introduce an imitative phrase in F sharp major. Soon a lengthy orchestral interlude over one of Bruckner’s typical pedal points ushers in the ‘Et resurrexit’, and near the close of the section the words ‘et vitam venturi saeculi’ inspire a flowing new idea.

The brief Sanctus makes prominent use of the unifying scales and octaves. In accordance with custom, the ‘Hosanna’ is repeated note-for-note at the close of the Benedictus, which starts in a chromatically-inflected G major but finds its way, at one point, to the remote key of C sharp. The thematic linking of the outer movements is a conspicuous feature of Bruckner’s symphonies, but it was an organizational idea carried forward from the Masses. The Agnus Dei begins with a descending scale on the strings and a choral phrase clearly modelled on the first Kyrie. At the words ‘dona nobis pacem’ Bruckner recalls the ‘et vitam’ from the Credo and later the Gloria’s crowning fugue subject.

The composer himself conducted the premiere of the D minor Mass in Linz Cathedral on 20 November 1864, and its favourable reception ensured its repeat at the Redoutensaal, also in Linz, on 18 December. After the November performance the critic in the Linzer Abendbote pronounced it ‘the best work of its type to be created for a long time’.

from notes by Wadham Sutton ©

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDH55356 track 8
Recording date
7 February 1993
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Bruckner: Mass in D minor & Te Deum (CDA66650)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: September 1993
    Deletion date: April 2008
    Superseded by CDH55356
  2. Bruckner: Mass in D minor & Te Deum (CDH55356)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: March 2010
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
  3. Bruckner: Masses (CDS44071/3)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: November 1996
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
  4. Bruckner: Mass in D minor & Te Deum (HYP650)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: September 2000
    Deletion date: December 2005
    Super-budget price sampler — Superseded by CDH55356
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