Beethoven Mass in C Major

Portrait of Beethoven in 1801 by Carl Traugott Riedel

The Mass in C Major (Opus 86) was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1807 to a commission by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy II. The work was not well received by the prince, who found it “ridiculous and detestable”, but critics have generally been much kinder. While the Mass in C Major has sometimes been overshadowed by Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, written 15 years later, the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (2004 edition) calls the earlier work a “long-underrated masterpiece.”.

Capital Choir has just started to rehearse the Mass in C Major and will perform it at the July concert. Doubtless there are various MIDI and MP3 files on the Internet that will be useful for practice, but I haven’t searched very hard yet. The CPDL page for this work is probably the first place to look. (The score we’re using is from this page.) If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below.