1796: Haydn: Mass No. 10 in C major, (TIMPANI MASS) e 54


  • Kyri, C major
  • Gloria, C major A major C major
  • Credo, C major C minor C major
  • Sanctus, C major
  • Benedictus, C minor C major
  • Agnus Dei, F major C major


  • flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons
  • 2 horns, 2 trumpets
  • timpani
  • organ
  • strings
  • soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists, and mixed chorus

Haydn adding instruments for a performance in Vienna.


It is known also as the “Paukenmesse” (the German word for timpani is Pauken) and “Messe” is “Mass”. It comes from the dramatic use of timpani


It is one of the most popular of his fourteen masses. The autograph manuscript says “Missa in tempore belli” (Mass in time of war).


Haydn composed this mass at Eisenstadt in August 1796, at the time of Austria’s general mobilisation into war. Four years into the European war that followed the French Revolution, Austrian troops were doing badly against the French in Italy and Germany, and Austria feared invasion. Reflecting the troubled mood of his time, Haydn integrated references to battle in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei movements. The Mass was first performed on 26 December 1796, in the Piarist Church of Maria Treu in Vienna.

Writing masses for the prince:

As Kapellmeister to Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy, Haydn’s principal duty in the last period of his life, beginning in 1796, was the composition of an annual mass to honor the name day of Prince Nicholas’ wife.

His Missa in Tempore Belli was performed at the family church, the Bergkirche, at Eisenstadt on 29 September 1797. Haydn also composed his oratorio The Creation around the same time.

This piece has been long thought to express an anti-war sentiment, even though there is no explicit message in the text itself, and no clear indication from Haydn that this was his intention.

The vocal parts of the mass are performed by four soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) and a four-part choir. The soloists often appear as an ensemble, without arias. Haydn scored the mass for a large orchestra, even adding instruments for a performance in Vienna.


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