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The Glagolitic Mass (Czech: Glagolská m?e, Church Slavonic: M?a glagolskaja; also called Missa Glagolitica or Slavonic Mass) is a composition for soloists (soprano, contralto, tenor, bass), double chorus, organ and orchestra by Leo? Janá?ek. The work was completed on 15 October 1926 and premiered by the Brno Arts Society, conducted by Jaroslav Kvapil, in Brno on 5 December 1927. Janá?ek revised the mass the next year. The Glagolitic Mass is one of the most remarkable and important musical religious works of the twentieth century.
The Glagolitic alphabet was an early Slavic alphabet, the predecessor of the modern Cyrillic alphabet.
The text is in Old Church Slavonic, with five vocal movements that correspond to the Catholic Ordinary of the Mass, omitting "Dona nobis pacem" in the Agnus Dei. The musical origins of the work can be traced to Janá?ek's Latin setting of the Kyrie, Agnus Dei, and Credo for organ and chorus. This was used as a dictation exercise by his composition students in 1908.
Janá?ek had extensive experience working with choirs, as well as writing a large amount of choral music. It begins and closes with triumphant fanfares dominated by the brass. In between these sections lies particularly vibrant and rhythmic writing for solo voices as well as choir. Before the closing Intrada, Janá?ek introduces a dramatic organ solo of considerable originality - a perpetuo moto of wild energy. Janá?ek's Glagolitic Mass is considered an important work of the century and is frequently performed and recorded today.
Janá?ek was a strong supporter of pan-Slavism, and this mass has been viewed as a celebration of Slavic culture.
Although this version is considered the "standard" version performed today, research into Janá?ek's manuscripts suggests that the Intrada was intended to be played at the beginning of the work as well, creating a symmetric nine-movement form with the V?ruju at its center. In addition, several other sections of the work were revealed to have been simplified in meter and orchestration. Some of the movements are reworkings of Janá?ek's earlier compositions: the Svet, for instance, is derived from the Sanctus of the composer's own Mass in E-flat.