Corydon Orchestra, Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
Beethoven composed the Mass in C in 1807 to a commission from Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. Although by this time his status as a composer of instrumental works was assured, he was less experienced in sacred music and had never before set the words of the Mass. Nonetheless, the Mass in C reveals an intensely personal and vividly dramatic response to these central liturgical texts: a response, moreover, that suggests much more than uncomplicated 'childlike optimism'.
The three remaining items recorded here belong to the world of opera rather than sacred music. Composed in Prague early in 1796, Ah! perfido is Beethoven's most outstanding contribution to the genre of the concert aria.
Ne' giorni tuoi felici and Tremate, empi, tremate were both undertaken as exercises in Italian text setting, which Beethoven studied under Salieri during the period around 1801/2 as he sought to acquire fluency in composing for vocal ensembles in preparation for writing opera.