Johann Michael Haydn’s Missa Sancti Hieronymi: An Unusual Eighteenth-Century Tribute to Saint Jerome
Keywords:Johann Michael Haydn, Archbishop Colloredo, Enlightenment, Emperor Joseph II, Salzburg
Johann Michael Haydn (1737–1806), court musician to the prince-archbishop of Salzburg, composed the Missa Sancti Hieronymi in 1777, apparently intended to mark the name-day of his employer: 30 September, the feast-day of St. Jerome. Because of its wind-band scoring, this Mass is unique, not only among Haydn’s Masses, but also in the Mass repertoire of Salzburg, and apparently in that of all late eighteenth-century Austria. The present article discusses the environment in which Haydn functioned and its effect on the practice of church music in Salzburg and generally in Catholic Austria. Haydn’s employer, Archbishop Colloredo, was a proponent of Enlightenment thinking. He expressed in his Hirtenbrief of 1782 ideas opposed to the kind of sacred music then prevalent in Austria, in particular, the orchestral Mass. Reflective of the new Gottesdienstordnung promulgated by Emperor Joseph II, the proposed changes include the introduction of congregational hymns in the vernacular and severe reduction in numbers of liturgies and the amount of music allowed in them. Colloredo finds support for his ideas in the writings of St. Jerome and other church fathers. Given Haydn’s strong Catholic faith and dedication as a composer of sacred music, the article suggests that although he wrote the Missa as a dutiful servant of his employer, he meant it above all as a tribute to St. Jerome.
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