NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1628 __ Te Deum
Comment : In 1628 the Salzburg cathedral was inaugurated with the performance of a spatial/musical composition by Orazio Benevoli (1605-1672), for which fifty-three instruments and twelve choirs were distributed throughout the interior of the cathedral in order to emphasize its acoustic effects through the ensemble playing of different groups, through echoes and dialogues, or through a general tutti. The resulting monumental spatial effects was achieved in an altogether different way from that used in the nineteenth century where one simply projected an increased volume of sound into the space from a signle place, the podium. Likewise, in court ceremonies small groups of musicians were distributed all around the room in suc a flexible way that they could change places at short notice and thus create different spatial effects as well as meanings. (Bernhard Leitner)The fame of Orazio Benevoli (or Benevolo) has tested largely on a work that he apparently did not compose: strong external and internal evidence suggests that the 53-part “Missa salisburgensis”, long cited as an example of the "gigantic" Baroque polychoral style, was not the work by Benevoli performed in Salzburg Cathedral in 1628, but dates from later in the 17th century and is probably by H. I. Biber.Stefano Bernardi was involved in the music for the consecration of Salzburg Cathedral in 1628: he wrote a Te Deum for 12 choirs and a dramatic work, which does not survive. On 25 September 1628, an event included the performance of a sumptuous Te Deum for 12 choirs, dispersed in the galleries, by the Italian composer Stefano Bernardi.The “Missa Salisburgensis à 53 voci” is, perhaps, the most large-scale piece of extant sacred Baroque music, an archetypical work of the Colossal Baroque. The author of this work is anonymous, however, recent studies of the work suggest that is almost certainly the work of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. Until recently, this Mass has been considered to have been a composition of Orazio Benevoli, or, more likely, Andreas Hofer, Biber's close contemporary and associate. The attribution to Biber is now universally accepted. The sole manuscript source narrowly escaped being used by a greengrocer to wrap vegetables for sale in the 19th century. The work is scored for very large forces and is polychoral in structure. The Missa Salisburgensis is a polychoral composition which takes advantage of the multiple organs and various locations available for groups of singers and musicians to perform in Salzburg Cathedral. The vocal parts feature in concerto (soloists) and in cappella (the full choir) parts across the sixteen vocal lines. However, several times in the Mass, the composer "collapses" all the voices into simple four part harmony (SATB) and uses some of the instrumental groups, the cornetto and trombone choir, in particular, to play in unison with the human voices. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : Pour la consécration de la nouvelle cathédrale en 1628, on entendit un Te Deum à 12 chœurs du maître de chapelle princier Stefano Bernardi (la “Missa salisburgensis” à 53 voix, qu'on crut longtemps avoir été composée pour cette occasion par Orazio Benevoli, est plus tardive, et peut-être due à Heinrich Ignaz Biber).La “Missa salisburgensis” permet de comprendre comment les compositeurs créaient leurs œuvres en tenant compte de l'acoustique particulière du lieu où elles allaient être jouées. En effet, la Missa Salisburgensis sert avant tout de marque de puissance du prince, rythmant la vie publique. Ce type d'oeuvres sacrées ou profanes, commandées à des artistes en vogue, faisaient appel à des effectifs impressionnants, sans compter les frais titanesques engendrés par la décoration, les gardes, les feux d'artifice, etc... La musicologue Patricia Ranum a montré qu'à l'occasion du Te Deum de Charpentier joué le 8 Février 1687, la musique constituait moins du quart du budget dépensé. Elle montre aussi que le cachet du compositeur/chef d'orchestre/interprète était finalement assez faible puisqu'il devait payer avec la somme qu'on lui allouait le salaire des instrumentistes et chanteurs. La Missa Salisburgensis de Heinrich Franz Ignaz von Biber fut probablement conçue pour la célébration en 1682 du onzième centenaire de la fondation de l'archevêché de Salzburg. Le Prince-Archevêque demanda alors à Biber d'écrire une œuvre fastueuse et rutilante; ce qu'il fit au-delà de toute espérance : 54 voix, 16 vocales et 35 instrumentales, divisés en 5 " coro " et 2 " loco ".Violons, violes, flûtes, hautbois, cornets à bouquins, clarini, trompettes, trombes, trombones, timbales et orgue sont requis. (Compiled from various sources)
Source : Leitner, Bernhard (1985), “Acoustic Space”, A conversation between. Bernhard Leitner and Ulrich Conrads, In DAIDALOS, No.17, Berlin, September 1985.
Source : Licht, Alan (2007), “Sound Art — Beyond Music, Between Categories”, New York, Rizzoli, pp. 42-43.
Urls : http://www.musebaroque.fr/Articles/spatialisation.htm (last visited ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HszgVqr9Df0 (last visited )

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