Fugues for chorus and soloist ensemble in Joseph Haydn’s late masses


Fugues from Haydn’s late masses are marked by similarity achieved through the repetition of techniques and musical material. Most of the fugues are built on a two-part thematic formula with a particular rhythmic and melodic pattern. Choral fugues in late masses are small in size and generally follow the rules of “strict style”.

These rules are only violated in the ensemble cadenza of soloists before the final choral tutti, thus becoming the secret of the form. Ensemble cadenzas are characterized by the transparency and relief of the vocalized texture as well as lighter counterpoint with parallel thirds and sixths and the alternating solos of duets and trios. Musical syntax is homophonic. It repeats two-measure structural units or a period divided into two phrases, etc. Fugues with the ensemble cadenza of soloists are not limited to late masses only. They are also found in the end of Haydn’s “The Creation”. However, the attempts to find other examples of this form—in Haydn’s works or beyond—have so far been unsuccessful.

Haydn’s choral fugues with the ensemble cadenza of soloists are quite in line with the 18th century Viennese concerted mass and the special role the mass played in the lavish annual autumn celebrations in Esterházy.

3. Gerver article 2021-1

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ГЕРВЕР Лариса Львовна – доктор искусствоведения, профессор кафедры аналитического музыкознания Российской академии музыки имени Гнесиных.
Larissa L. GERVER is a Doctor in Art Studies, professor of Analytical Musicology Department at the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music.

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