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Spiritual music blossomed during the Classical era. Today, the tip of a very large iceberg.

If you sing in an oratorio choir, you may know Mozart and Haydn’s masses. This music is well-known for good reasons, but not unique. During the Classical period, church music continued to do what it had always done: adapt to new trends. The influence of symphonies and operas could be heard in churches. This drew in worshippers and helped inspire new generations with the Word.

Today, we’ll hear music by the Italian Niccolò Jommelli. As a Neapolitan, his main interest was opera, as you can hear in his Veni creator Spiritus: Jommelli knows how to achieve maximum impact with a small change.

We’ll also hear one of Marianne Martines’ works. Her biography is full of renowned names. As a child, for example, she lived in one house with the Eszterhazys and a young Joseph Haydn. Later, she also met Michael Haydn and Mozart. And her connections paid of! Listen to how beautifully Viennese her Dixit Dominus sounds!

After that, we’ll hear Jean-Joseph de Mondonville. He may not be as popular today anymore, but around the year 1750 he was the greatest French composer after Rameau. He composed the Grand motet, a formula once invented by Lully, for a classical style. In his De profundis we hear how this unfolds.

Aside from all these catholic composers, we’ll also hear a protestant composer. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach inherited his father’s faith and remained faithful to it until he passed away. His short Cantata Heilig from 1776 is a mature and incredibly subtile piece. By then, the composer had been dismissed from the service of the Prussian king and was residing in Hamburg. Heilig was performed there in the grand Michael Church and became a resounding success

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