Beethoven Mass examined as fulcrum of change
What was Beethoven’s Credo? Does the “Missa Solemnis” show Beethoven believing or questioning?
Addressing those questions, Dr. Eftychia Papanikolaou, coordinator of musicology studies, will present “Interrogating the Sacred: Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis,’” at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in 201A Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
Papanikolaou investigates the changing face of the Mass in the 19th century and examines the forces behind the eventual breakdown of the boundaries between sacred and secular, the church and the concert hall. Her talk focuses on Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” (1819-23), a large-scale liturgical Mass for chorus, soloists and full orchestra that became emblematic of the new symphonic style. Empowered by the aura of romanticism, Beethoven imbued his Mass with a new type of individuality, thus foreshadowing the significance, role and status that religious music would acquire in the rest of the 19th century. As Papanikolaou asserts, this new type of individuality helped pave the way for romantic composers who saw in the genre of the Mass a perfect vehicle for expressing their desire for the monumental, the lofty and the sublime.
Her talk is part of the Artists and Scholars in Residence series sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS).
Papanikolaou’s lectures and publications focus on the interconnections of music, religion and politics in the 19th century, with emphasis on the sacred as a musical topos. She is writing a monograph on the genre of the romantic symphonic Mass.