Bernard of Offida, 1604–1694, was a Capuchin monk, whose saintly life and devotion to the sick and poor, caused him to be beatified by Pope Pius VI on 19 May, 1795. St. Bernard’s name day falls on the 11th of September (a Saturday in 1797), and it is generally thought that Haydn combined doing honour to the Capuchin monk with the production of a new Mass for his patron the day thereafter.
Apparently later performances in Eisenstadt added horns to double the trumpets in the tuttis, and – just as in the previous Mass – the clarinet parts were enlarged; it is almost certain that the new clarinet parts are either by Haydn, or (shall we say) “supervised” by him. As in the Mass in Time of War conductors have the choice of two orchestrations: with or without doubling horns and with or without the supplementary clarinet parts.
The Heiligmesse has always been one of Haydn’s most admired works. Its dignity, its strength (we draw special attention to the extraordinary “Gratias”, with its brilliant contrapuntal writing), the subdued orchestral grandeur to which the B-flat trumpets contribute a silvery but unmartial weight – all these have made it one of Haydn’s most serious and most deeply sensitive church works: its constant popularity in Viennese churches is quite deserved.Urtext from Joseph Haydn WerkeFull score (together with Missa Cellensis [Mariazellermesse] Hob.XXII:8; Missa brevis Sti Joannis de Deo [Little Organ Mass] Hob.XXII:7; Missa in Tempore Belli [Mass in Time of War] Hob.XXII:9) available for saleParts (BA4651) and vocal score (BA4651-90) available for sale