It is relevant at this time to include a few words about Beethoven's compositional processes. Mozart was able to get on a train, a few hours later get off with a whole opera composed in his head. Beethoven couldn't do that. In fact every phrase, every note was like pulling teeth. Beethoven never had less than one composition going on at the same time. He used sketch books to write down his ideas when they flew into his head, before he forgot them. Even after he had an idea, he had to work it out just right. What resulted was a mess of erasures and scribbles on a piece of paper that a copyist would later havet to decipher. One look at the page below from his sketches on the Missa Solemnis and one wonders how the music ever made it out.
The 1935 Missa Solemnis conducted by Toscanini means the world to our Sound Engineer, Richard Caniell, and he has spent untellable hours, weeks, from month to month over the past three years on it. Even after we released it and it was reviewed and purchased by many music lovers, he nonetheless kept returning to it, hoping to yet improve its sonics. Recently he achieved a significant break-through in sound improvement in clarity, in tone, in the divisions between the choral voices and the orchestra, and in more natural sound (which was greatly injured by the private recording and AM transmission). We now offer this re-mastered version, which includes a brief booklet dedicating the album to John Steane, as well as describing the improvements. (See link below to reviews of this new edition in Fanfares pages). For those who have previously purchased the earlier edition from us, the two remastered CDs will be provided for a minimal cost-covering fee of $10.00, to be included with some other of your purchases, or with the addition of postage costs if obtained by itself.
Beethoven working on the Missa Solemnis Courtesy of the ..
Beethoven's output was mostly null until 1818. At this point he was completely deaf and slightly mad. Also his brother died leaving Beethoven's only nephew, Karl, in the guardianship of his mother. Now Beethoven felt that she was not fit to raise Karl, so he entered into a vicious lawsuit over custody of the child. For the most part he was able to use his influence with the aristocracy to win the battle. Unfortunately Beethoven was not a fit father and his relationship with Karl was quite poor, driving him to an suicide attempt a few years later. Beethoven loved Karl dearly, and the pain of his failed attempts to teach Karl music must have been devestating for Beethoven. It's often spectulated that Karl was probably a strong contributor to Beethoven's late style. The late period saw the compositions of Beethoven's largest works: the Mass in D (Missa Solemnis), Op. 123 (1818-23), the 9th Symphony (Choral), Op. 125 (1818-23), the Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106 (1818), and the late string quartets.