Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli, Hob. XXII:9

"Mass in Time of War"

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The Missa in tempore belli by Joseph Haydn is an interesting work in several respects. Firstly, this setting of the Mass provides pointers to the situation of Austrian church music as it had been affected by imperial decrees. Secondly the political situation, with the imminent invasion of Austria by Napoleon's troops, had reached a crisis point which is reflected in the description of this composition as a "Mass in time of war". Last but not least, this work is the first of the group of six settings of the Latin Mass which, together with the oratorios "The Creation" and "The Seasons", form the body of Haydn's last period vocal works, and which unquestionably belong among his supreme creative achievements.