Glagolitic Mass - Leos Janáček (1854 - 1928)

1. Úvod (Introduction)

2. Gospodi pomiluj (Kyrie eleison)

3. Slava (Gloria)

4. Vĕruju (Credo)

5. Svet; Blagaslovi'en gredyj (Sanctus; Benedictus)

6. Agneče Božij (Agnus Dei)

7. Varhany sólo (Postludium) [Organ solo]

8. Intrada (Exodus)

Although this version is considered the "standard" version performed today, research into Janáček's manuscripts suggests that the Intrada was intended to be played at the beginning of the work as well, creating a symmetric nine-movement form with the Vĕruju at its centre.

The Glagolitic Mass was begun shortly after Janáček’s trip to Great Britain in 1926. The five vocal movements correspond to the Catholic mass (minus "dona nobis pacem" in the Agnus) and in fact the work began as a Latin setting of the Kyrie, Agnus, and Credo for organ and chorus, as early as 1908. The work was subject to a number of later alternations both by the composer and also after his death when the work was published
The idea for the setting was suggested by a clerical friend, who whilst criticizing the paucity of religious music in Czechoslovakia suggested that the composer try his hand at a new setting of the mass. Rather typically, Janáček, an atheist, opted out of a traditional Latin setting, and chose an Old Church Slavonic text (though it is actually a hybrid of the extinct language). The term ‘Glagolitic’ refers to the original script in which Old Church Slavonic was written.
The original words date from the 9th century, and was used in church services on the 7th July, the feast day of St Cyril and St Methodius. Janáček later said, in an article printed in his local paper, that the piece was actually inspired by an electrical storm he witnessed whilst on his holiday in the spa-town of Luhačovice. ‘It grows darker and darker. Already I am looking into the black night; flashes of lightning cut through it. I switch on the flickering electric light on the high ceiling. I sketch nothing more than the quiet motive of a desperate frame of mind to the words ‘Gospodi pomiluj’ [Love have mercy]. Nothing more than the joyous shout ‘Slava, Slava!’ [Glory]
Janáček was a strong supporter of pan-Slavism, and this mass has been viewed as a celebration of Slavic culture. It is also, unsurprisingly, connected to Kamila Stösslová, Janáček's great love. . 
There is nothing quite like Janáček's Glagolitic Mass. Part religious and part pagan ritual, its dramatic, almost chaotic muscular energy mixes with subtle nuance and tenderness to take the listener on a exhilarating and exhausting journey

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