Antonín Reicha's Missa Pro Defunctis and the Nineteenth-Century Concert Requiem
AuthorThomas, Christopher Buerkle
AdvisorChamberlain, Bruce B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMissa pro defunctis (1802-1808) by Antonín Reicha (1770-1836) is a unique work. Situated in time and in style between the monumental requiem settings of Mozart and Berlioz, it establishes the concert requiem as a sub-genre of requiem composition. Missa pro defunctis incorporates attributes from both liturgical and concertized genres and co-exists within both church and dramatic composition realms. As seen in his copious theory writings, Reicha’s ideas concerning melody, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and dramatic composition inform his compositional preferences. In this study I demonstrate how a modern performance of Antonín Reicha's Missa pro defunctis can be informed by consideration of his major theoretical writings, by an understanding of the nineteenth-century concert requiem sub-genre, and by other writings on nineteenth-century performance practice. In producing an historically informed performance of Missa pro defunctis, I analyzed the four major theoretical treatises by Reicha for content, and relevancy, to the Requiem. I next analyzed the Missa pro defunctis itself in light of these treatises. I discovered that the work sometimes aligns with Reicha’s theoretical writings and sometimes departs from their principles, in large part, because of the inherent contradiction resulting when a sacred text is set in a dramatic fashion. I further incorporated conclusions about the implications for performance revealed through the study of Reicha’s theoretical writings and my own experience in preparing the work for performance. It is my hope that this recently published nineteenth-century work will receive more frequent performance than has been the case since its composition. This study contains resources to provide conductors a means of producing a performance that is in consonance with Reicha’s philosophies as a theorist and composer.
Degree ProgramGraduate College