March 30, 2011
Schubert Mass in G major, No. 2, D. 167
Franz Schubert's second setting of the Latin mass—the now-famous
Mass in G major for soloists, chorus, string orchestra, and organ, D.
167—was unpublished and completely unknown during Schubert's
lifetime. When the mass was finally published in 1846 it was not
Schubert's but rather the composer Robert Führer's which appeared on
the title page! History was quick to correct the fraudulency, however,
and the mass has since achieved a degree of popularity only bested in
Schubert's catalog of sacred music by the final Mass in E flat major.
Schubert wrote the G major Mass between March 2 and March 7, 1815,
probably to be performed at his family's church in Lichtenthal. The six
sung portions of the Mass Ordinary—Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus,
Benedictus, and Agnus Dei—are all present; each is set with great
brevity, but without hastiness. The mass is scored for soprano, tenor,
and bass soloists, mixed chorus, strings, and organ; some years later
Schubert added parts for trumpets and timpani.
The soprano solos
suggest that the work had been written partly with the talents of
Therese Grob in mind. The young soprano, daughter of neighbors of