2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

Beethoven's Missa Solemnis: Beyond Religious Worth to Meaning in Music History and World Spirit
Renee M. Gordon
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

Beethoven's grandest religious work does not receive the extensive attention or acclaim awarded his symphonies, sonatas, and concertos. Sometimes considered an anomaly in Beethoven scholarship, the Missa Solemnis (Op. 123) contains Beethoven's compositional genius culminated in his late style and the spirit of the 19th century. Beethoven conceived of the piece due to his strong friendship with Archduke Rudolph, son of Emperor Leopold II of Austria, and wanted to compose a mass for Rudolph's installation as Archbishop of Olm├╝tz. Through an analysis of the piece, this project will specify the mass's role in music history as an example of the "world spirit" and compare Beethoven's compositional technique of organicism to that of the philosophical dialectics championed by Hegel, specifically in the "Sanctus, Benedictus" movement. Organicism, treating themes differently throughout a work, resembles Hegel's dialectics, where commonsense ideas are addressed and inadequacies are rationally resolved, creating a new, synthesized belief.

Keywords: Beethoven, Missa Solemnis, Hegel, world spirit, musical analysis, dialectics, mass, 19th century

Topic(s):Music

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 32-5
Location: OP 2210
Time: 2:15

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