Kiel, Friedrich


Kiel, Friedrich

Missa solemnis Op. 40 for Solo, Choir and Orchestra

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Friedrich Kiel – Missa Solemnis, Op. 40

(b. Puderbach, 8 October 1821 – d. Berlin, 13 September 1885)

Friedrich Kiel was born in 1821 in Puderbach, a district of Neuwied, in Rhineland-Palatinate Germany, located approximately twenty-five kilometers north of Koblenz. He received his first piano lessons at a very young age from his father, but was playing without instruction by age six, and composing music by thirteen. He eventually caught the attention of Prince Albrecht zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who supported Kiel to study violin with his own orchestra’s concertmaster and study music theory with flutist Kaspar Kummer. Eventually, Kiel moved to study in Berlin with Siegfried Dehn, who would support Kiel into becoming a sought after instructor. Kiel would then teach composition at Stern Conservatory and Hochschule für Musik. Across his career, Kiel produced over seventy compositions including a piano concerto, motets, oratorios, and chamber music. His chamber works were regarded as his best and had many positive remarks from Wilhelm Altmann and R. H. R. Silvertrust. During Kiel’s time, most composers followed the schools of Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, and Johannes Brahms. Kiel was a great admirer of Brahms and had more in common with his style, and his colleague Joseph Joachim from the Hochschule.

Missa Solemnis, Op. 40 is a five-movement religious work with sections in multiple movements. It uses mixed chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra. The first performance of Friedrich Kiel’s Missa Solemnis was on December 16, 1859. It was conducted by Kiel himself, with the Berlin Cathedral Choir and Orchestra. Although it did not gain the same traction as the Beethoven’s or Brahms’s masses from the same era, the work received positive feedback. There have been multiple modern recordings made of the piece since. The location of the manuscript parts are not known.

At this time in history, many composers created their own “mass” in Latin to be performed in the Catholic church. Composers, such as Kiel, were pushing the boundaries of what truly constituted a mass and what was a massive work intended for a concert hall. His stylistic approach of Catholic liturgy on a large-scale made for an epic push toward the future of classical and religious music. …


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Score Data

Score Number



Repertoire Explorer


Choir/Voice & Orchestra




210 x 297 mm



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