When Beethoven described it as his greatest work he was perhaps thinking of both its grand scale and its importance. He devoted four years of his final decade to this ultimate statement of his faith, inscribing on the score, ‘From the heart: may it reach the heart’.
Hearing the Missa Solemnis is an overwhelming experience. Moments of hushed intimacy are swept aside by thunderous choruses and vocal solos of operatic intensity. As always with Beethoven, his awe-inspiring music is rich with the complex emotions and ambiguities of a man grappling with the infinite.
Donald Runnicles continues his Music of Inspiration with the ultimate spiritual journey, which also marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.