Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg · Theodor Guschlbauer, conductor
May Sandoz, soprano
„ … Missa est“
Eva Lind, soprano · Marjana Lipovsek, mezzosoprano
Robert Holl, bass · ORF-Chor Wien · Arnold Schönberg Chor
Choralschola St. Stephan, Passau · Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien
Leopold Hager, conductor
Mitschnitt von den Salzburger Festspielen 1976/1986
Composer Helmut Eder, who passed away in Salzburg on February 8, 2005 at the age of 88, was very closely connected to the Salzburg festival. His works have been performed
there since 1964; he received his first commission from the festival in 1976: the Divertimento für Koloratursopran und drei Orchestergruppen op. 64.
The mass “… Missa est”, commissioned by the Austrian Radio Broadcasting Company (ORF), was premiered on August 23, 1986 at the Salzburg Festival. It featured top soloists: Eva Lind, Marjana Lipovsek and Robert Holl. Two highly exceptional documents from the history of the Salzburg Festival!
Musik für die Felsenreitschule
Composed for the Felsenreitschule
Für Koloratursopran und drei Orchestergruppen op. 64
| Introduzione||02 : 18|
| Canto I||07 : 09 |
| Balletto ||04 : 47 |
| Canto II ||08 : 33|
Auftragswerk der Salzburger Festspiele
Uraufführung im Rahmen der Fünften Serenade am 14. August 1976
May Sandoz, Sopran
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
Theodor Guschlbauer, Dirigent
„… Missa est“
Große Messe für drei Soli, zwei gemischte Chöre,
Choralschola und drei Orchestergruppen op. 86
| Introduktion – Kyrie||08 : 59 |
| Gloria ||22 : 40 |
| Credo||03 : 57 |
| Sanctus||04 : 11 |
| Benedictus||05 : 24 |
| Agnus Dei||10 : 20 |
Auftragswerk des Österreichischen Rundfunks ORF
für die Salzburger Festspiele
Uraufführung im Elften Orchesterkonzert am 23. August 1986
Eva Lind, Sopran
Marjana Lipovsek, Mezzosopran
Robert Holl, Bass
ORF-Chor Wien · Arnold Schönberg Chor
Einstudierung: Erwin Ortner
Choralschola St.Stephan, Passau
Einstudierung: Domkantor Heinz-Walter Schmitz
Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien
Leopold Hager, Dirigent
Austrian composer Helmut Eder passed away on February 8, 2005 in Salzburg. Only several weeks before, Eder had celebrated
his 88th birthday; he actively composed until almost the end of his life. He was one of few composers of his generation to become famous far beyond the borders of his country and to succeed despite the fact that he never belonged to any group or was supported by any powerful (publishing) lobby.
Helmut Eder was independent as well as curious and open for everything concerning
music. In his creative work he always demanded the highest professionalism of himself. Due to his relatively late return home after World War II and imprisonment, Eder was not able to concentrate on composing until the age of 30. He went straight to three established masters: Paul Hindemith at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Carl Orff in Munich and Johann Nepomuk David in Stuttgart. During his entire life, Eder remained committed to the artistic ethos and technical craft of his teachers,
which most certainly prevented him from being swept up by any particular currents or fads, even if these might have promised him attention or quick fame. He always paid close attention to and gained stimulus, however,
Helmut Eder was independent as well as curious and open for everything concerning
from the paths taken by the music of his time. He tried out new compositional techniques and responded to the challenges of new ideas about musical sound. But Eder never lost sight of his goal: finding convincing formal expressions
for tasks he took on or was given by others,
i. e. solutions he personally found valid.
It was to Helmut Eder’s benefit that he never lost touch with musical practice. Neither
in his early years as a pianist and choral conductor, neither as a conductor of small and large orchestras, neither as a presenter of imaginative
programs who earned great kudos for many years in his work with the Salzburg International Mozart Foundation and always took an active part in musical life as an attentive
listener. Helmut Eder did not inhabit an ivory tower. His catalog of works, consisting of some 130 opus numbers, contains hardly any composition that was not written for immediate
consumption: for the theater, a festival,
an orchestra, and last but not least, for pre-eminent artists whose individuality and possibilities were always taken into account by the composer. Thanks to the close relationship
between Eder’s works and their intended recipients, his compositions have been performed
an impressive number of times – by such greats as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestras, various radio symphony orchestras,
opera houses and festivals, prominent
instrumentalists and singers as well as successful chamber music ensembles. One of his most successful works, written for the debut of the legendary “Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic” at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 1973, is Melodia-Ritmica. The work is an example of such an occasional work that provides an unmistakable and virtuosic solution
for a highly unusual task.
The same is true for both works in this Festival
Documentation edition with which the Salzburg Festival wishes to remember a composer
who was part of festival programs for over four decades. Works of Eder’s performed at the Salzburg Festivals include many kinds of chamber music, orchestral works, an oratorio and the premiere of his opera Mozart in New York, composed for the Mozart year; also his exceptionally convincing reconstruction of Mozart’s C Minor Mass, which has been performed
annually during the Salzburg Festival in the St. Peter Basilica since 1985.
Pleasant, entertaining music
The first Salzburg Festival program containing Helmut Eder’s name is from the year 1964. The Wiener Solisten played his Concerto a duodeci, written specifically for the internationally successful
chamber orchestra. Three years later, Eder took on a composition class at the Mozarteum
Conservatory and moved to Salzburg. In 1971, his second woodwind quintet, the frequently
performed Septuagesima instrumentalis,
was premiered in a concert played by the Vienna Philharmonic’s woodwind quintet. The next entry in the chronicles of the Salzburg Festival notes the premiere of a work commissioned
by the festival. Gerhard Wimberger, also a composer and teacher at the Mozarteum, succeeded as a member of the festival board in lobbying for support of contemporary music and commissioning new works. Examples of commissions for the Serenades in the Felsenreitschule
include Nachtgedanken, by German composer Wilhelm Killmayer (1973) and Cassazione
for three orchestras by French composer
Jean Francaix (1975).
Zum ersten Mal findet sich der Name Helmut Eder im Festspielprogramm des Jahres 1964. Die ‚Wiener Solisten’ spielten sein für das international
In 1976, Helmut Eder was awarded the commission that resulted in his Divertimento for Coloratura Soprano and Three Orchestra Groups, op. 64. Eder characterized his work as follows: “The use of the word ‘divertimento’ (= “pleasant, entertaining music”) can be understood
in the rich alternation in forms, the highly diverse orchestration, the division and setup of the orchestras, the clearly recognizable
movements and their forms, and the use of the spatial and acoustic characteristics of the Felsenreitschule.”
The Divertimento op. 64 enjoyed a highly successful performance by the Mozarteum Orchestra in a serenade conducted by its Viennese
conductor, Theodor Guschlbauer, who was still GMD in Linz at the time. “Die Presse” called the work “exemplary for a commissioned
work”, the “Salzburger Nachrichten” dedicated an extensive analysis to the Divertimento,
and in the Vienna “Kurier”, Andrea Seebohm expressed her pleasure about new music with these words: “… it is an exciting and effective work, wonderfully composed for the room – real “spielmusik”, delightful and entertaining.
The main orchestra was located in the middle of the main stage (woodwinds, brass, percussion, harp and strings); the trumpets, horns, bassoon and oboe were placed in the arcade to the left; flutes, clarinets and more percussion in the arcade to the right. The coloratura
soprano May Sandoz stood above in the middle, alone except for a celesta.
The work began with a festive trumpet fanfare
that seemed to have come straight from the baroque into the 20thcentury. Slowly but surely, softer impressionistic tone colors entered
as well as a big percussion solo at one point. In the second and fourth (last) movements,
the soprano added vowels and sounding
consonants to the texture. Ingenious playing together as well as against each other from the various groups, logically structured climaxes
and dramatic additions, sensual pianissimo sounds. I have seldom listened to a new composition
with such excitement and pleasure. – Of course, Theodor Guschlbauer’s precise, temperamental conducting made it easier for both musicians as well as audience members to listen to and comprehend the work.”
A mass as musical world theater
Zehn Jahre später – inzwischen hatte das Symphonieorchester
Ten years later – during which the ORF Symphony
Orchestra under Leif Segerstam had premiered Eder’s Symphony No. 5 at the 1980 Salzburg Festival – we find a similar, but also completely different scenario. Commissioned by the ORF, Helmut Eder wrote a mass for the Salzburg Festival, doubtless taking advantage of the experiences he had gained from the concept and spatial effect of his Divertimento. It is not a mass in the liturgical sense, but rather a declaration of the general validity of the Christian weltanschauung, and above and beyond this, to the fact that the Latin mass text stands as a symbol for the development of Western European music as nothing else can. This is why the work is entitled “… Missa est”, meaning “it is a mass”; the musician who uses thoroughly contemporary means to set this text finds himself part of a living, unbroken tradition that spans the ages from Gregorian chant to the present.
In his extensive and precise analysis of Helmut Eder’s works, musicologist Gernot Gruber (1988) says among other things: “Eder understands his work as a declaration of faith to the history of music, to the tradition of composed
masses. The concrete occasion that gave rise to this composition was Mozart’s C Minor Mass fragment, whose instrumentation
Eder took and revised. In doing so, he referred
to a specific tradition that begins with Bach’s B Minor Mass, Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”, continues
with Bruckner’s masses as well as Berlioz and Verdi’s requiems, and goes all the way to works such as Penderecki’s “Magnificat”: a tradition that reflects the timeless dilemma of all sacred music – whether to serve purely liturgical purposes or to stand on its own two artistic feet – and then clearly decides on giving up liturgical determination in favor of art… without really ever overcoming or denying
its own origin. As it seems, such works remain at the very least ‘weltanschauung’ music, situated somewhere between the ideals
of 19th century “art-religion” and archaic forms of spirituality.
Eder bridles against being used for one world-view or another, composing against this, or even better: composing around it. He wishes in no way to write “anti-sacred music” in the sense of the “anti-art” movement, but is thoroughly
enchanted with the wonderful kingdom of music with all its riches and historical depth. That does not mean, however, that the liturgical text is simply covered or leveled by the magical color of the music. On the contrary. Eder sets these texts extremely vividly (as did his predecessors
in this tradition). His interpretation does not go hand in hand with theological content, however, but seeks its meaning in the “musee imaginaire” of music’s past and present.
The wide stage and arcades of the Salzburg Felsenreitschule are the perfect external setting
for this musical world theater. The musicians
are positioned throughout the areas of this hall as “living pictures”. The main orchestra,
choir and two of the three soloists are on the ground; a small second choir – only a few singers per part – in the first row of arcades; a wind ensemble in each of the two side arcades; and in the middle of the highest row of arcades: a coloratura soprano. This placement of musical
forces is highly reminiscent of the medieval division of the stage into three parts in sacred plays of that age. The suggestive spatial effects of the music correspond to this subdivision as well. The musical means in this work unfold to almost an unimaginable pluralism.
Festive premiere and spontaneous success
“… Missa est” was heard for the first time on August 23, 1986 in a festive concert at the Salzburg
Festival held to celebrate the 25th anniversary
of the highly active International Music Center. The commissioners of the work went out of their way to ensure the availability of the best forces possible for the new composition’s performance.
These included three prominent soloists:
soprano Eva Lind, who had debuted in Salzburg
that summer as the Italian singer in Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, mezzo-soprano Marjana Lipovsek, successfully on the festival stage and as a concert singer since 1981, and bass Robert Holl, who had belonged to the festival ensemble since 1978; three highly professional choirs: the ORF and Arnold Schönberg choirs from Vienna and the Choralschola St. Stephan from Passau and – distributed in various groups – musicians of the ORF Symphony Orchestra. Leopold Hager, who had conducted a number of Helmut Eder’s works while GMD in Salzburg, was eminently capable of interpreting this synopsis of tradition and modern statement and leading it to a triumphal,
intensive climax. Long, lasting applause and loud ‘bravos’ following a premiere – for festival audiences considered to be extremely conservative, a thoroughly unusual event.
Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler