While it may have been overshadowed by the Missa Solemnis, the earlier Mass in C is a masterpiece in its own right, revealing the composer’s intensely personal and dramatic response to the Latin text. It was commissioned in 1807 by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy for the annual celebrations of his wife the Princess Maria’s name-day, continuing a tradition previously fulfilled by Haydn.
In the cantata for choir and orchestra Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Beethoven set two complementary poems by Goethe, Meeresstille and Glückliche Fahrt, contrasting the profound stillness of a becalmed sailing ship with the sailor’s exhilaration as the wind springs up and he sights land.
The dramatic Leonore overture is one of four versions Beethoven composed for the opera Fidelio, whose Finale, praising Leonore for her bravery in rescuing her husband Florestan from prison, is one of the most joyful and uplifting in all opera. The roles of Leonore and Florestan will be sung by Arlene Rolph and Wynne Evans, with Claire Seaton as Marzelline and Giles Underwood as Don Fernando.