Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Missa Solemnis audience reaction

Tue 20 Dec 2011

Back at the start of November we performed Beethoven’s epic Missa Solemnis, together with conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the Philharmonia Chorus. In this video we catch up with audience members after the concert to ask what they made of it – and there’s also some short extracts from the performance too.

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Missa Solemnis: Reviews and reaction

Mon 7 Nov 2011

Missa Solemnis flyer

Friday saw our performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Royal Festival Hall. Not only was it the first time we’ve performed this piece for 15 years, it was also the first time we had worked with conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Here’s what the critics and audience made of it.




Classical Source


The Times (subscribers only)


Twitter reaction:


johnsandell John Sandell

Missa Solemnis @theoae: loved it (with a couple of small reservations). Friends didn’t: “too loud”. But it’s not meant to be comfortable.


_mattl Matt Lewis

Disappointingly flat Missa Solemnis from @theoae last night. Muddy sound, shouty choir, general balance problems (RFH acoustics to blame?).


gui_arnoldo Guilherme Arnoldo

@theoae Thought Mr. Noseda was going to take flight during the ‘Gloria’ tonight: talk about energetic! Awesome performance, you guys rock 🙂


ryan_e_hill Ryan Hill

@NosedaG @theoae @Philchorus Thank you for a really moving performance of Beethoven’s ‘Missa solemnis’ tonight. My eyes did moisten. 🙂


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Michaela Wehrum: Speed interview

Thu 3 Nov 2011

This Friday, we’ll be performing Beethoven’s choral masterpiece Missa Solemnis at the Royal Festival Hall. We caught up with one of the soloists, Michaela Wehrum (alto).

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Ten things you never knew about Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis…

Tue 1 Nov 2011

Missa Solemnis flyer

Ok, maybe you know some of them already. But hopefully there’s at least a few new things here for you. Many thanks to Communications Intern Natasha for compiling such a great list. And remember, if you use Spotify you can listen to the Missa Solemnis here. And of course hear it live at the Royal Festival Hall this Friday, 4 November.


– Beethoven considered his Missa Solemnis to be his greatest achievement. “gave it all that he was humanly and artistically capable of, with utter devotion and fervor.”


– In fact, Beethoven devoted so much creative energy into the work that it was not finished until almost three years after the ceremony! In 1823 the work was finally completed and its first performance took place in 1824, in St Petersburg.


-This herculean work presents many challenges for the performers. Constant changes of musical character, large forces and dense textures contribute to the difficult nature of the work. Sopranos in the chorus are required to indulge in some high wire acrobatics in the Credo; singing a fortissimo top B flat for 14 beats is certainly not an easy task!


-The Benedictus is preceded by an orchestral prelude, inspired by Beethoven’s many ventures in organ improvisation as a boy. A solo violin (depicting the Holy Spirit) delicately penetrates the sustained texture and firmly establishes itself as a virtuoso to match the vocal soloists, undertaking 123 bars mostly in the high register.


– Beethoven spent over a year researching church music to become familiar with the music of liturgical masters such as Bach, Handel and Palestrina.


– The Missa Solemnis has not been well received by many critics. Musicologist Walter Riezler considered it to be ‘Beethoven’s least approachable work’ and Theodor Adorno thought there to be ‘something peculiar about the Missa Solemnis’.


– A very dramatic work, in its scale, length and instrumental requirements, it broke the boundaries of the traditional mass setting. It is often considered the Classical counterpart to Bach’s Mass in B Minor.


– The grand scale of the work reflected Beethoven’s intentions to grab hold of the listener. In a letter to Andreas Streicher, German piano maker and friend to Beethoven, he stated that his ‘chief aim was to awaken and permanently instil religious feeling not only into the singer but also into the listeners’.


– Beethoven wrote the following on the manuscript of the Kyrie: “Von Herzen — möge es wieder — zu Herzen gehn!”. An emotional statement which translates as: ‘From the heart — may it again — go to the heart!’.

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Intense. Extraordinary. Massive. But boring?! Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

Tue 25 Oct 2011

On 4 November we’re collaborating with the Philharmonia Chorus to perform Beethoven’s epic Missa Solemnis in a concert which is given in memory of Sir Charles Mackerras, who was both President of the Philharmonia Chorus and an Emeritus Conductor of the OAE.


The other week we caught up with players from the Orchestra to find out more about this relatively rarely performed piece. It seems that not everyone loves it…but there’s only one way to find out for yourself – come!


Find out more about the concert here.

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Missa Solemnis – the result

Fri 27 May 2011

Thanks to everyone who voted and helped us decided on our Missa Solemnis postcard design. They arrived in our office yesterday and look fantastic – very eye catching. Many of you will find them landing on your doormats soon…


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Help us decide on our Missa Solemnis postcard…

Fri 6 May 2011

Missa Solemnis postcard - option 3

Last summer we asked you to help us decide on our Vespers postcard, and now we’re turning to you again to put your thoughts into the pot as we decide on a postcard to promote our performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis this Autumn, for which we’re collaborating with the Philharmonia Chorus. Rob, the designer at Harrison & Co, has come up with a number of designs, which we’ve narrowed down to three. Needless to say, there’s a variety of differing opinions, so as before, we thought we’d ask our audiences what they reckon too.

So, here are three possible cover designs for the postcard. Take a look and vote for your favourite (strictly First Past The Post, no second preferences please), and if you feel so motivated then leave us a comment too. Votes in by Tuesday 10am please!

UPDATE: Thanks all your votes – looks like the red one won by a mile!

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