Missa Solemnis
Ludwig van Beethoven


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3rd of Beethoven's 20 entries.

Both deeply spiritual and highly theatrical, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is one of only three overtly religious works in Beethoven's output along with the oratorio Christus am Olberge and an earlier setting of the Mass. Many commentators have suggested that the music is better-suited to a concert hall than a church. With four soloists and a choir, some have even suggested it should be regarded more as a short opera than anything else. Written just before the famous Ninth Symphony, between 1819-1823, the Missa Solemnis has not enjoyed the same level of popular attention.

Raphael's The Mass of Bolsena, from the Stanza dell'Eliodor (1514).