Saturday Feb 23, 2013
With the McGehee Young Artist Competition winners.
The C Major Mass was commissioned by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy (II) to commemorate the name day of his wife, Marie von Liechtenstein. Beethoven’s motivation for writing it, then, was less related to his own religious feeling. Because of this, the style of this mass was similar to that of Haydn’s masses. In fact, this commission was an annual Esterhazy custom fulfilled on six prior occasions by Haydn. Beethoven put enough of his own style into his C Major Mass that he occasionally deviated from conformity to strict conventions. After the first performance of the Mass, the Prince reportedly said, "My dear Beethoven, what have you written there!", evidently in a condescending tone. Beethoven immediately became irritated by this, and he left the Prince’s court on the same day of the performance. The score was then dedicated to Prince Ferdinand Kinsky instead.