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Eine Messe des Lebens - A Mass of Life'

Eine Messe des Lebens - (english translated title "A Mass of Life") is a cantata by English composer Frederick Delius, based on the German text of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra.[1] In 1898, Delius had written a male choir and orchestral setting of "Midnight Song" from the same work, and this was revised to form part of the Mass.[1]

The English born composer Frederick Delius formally chose for his work the German title "Eine Messe des Lebens" (primarily Delius wanted the title "Lebensmesse" but changed this because Richard Dehmel - German author - persisted on his invention and copy right of "Lebensmesse"). The original title "Eine Messe des Lebens" was used regularly by Sir Thomas Beecham who conducted the first complete performance of the work in London in 1909.

Eine Messe des Lebens is the largest of Delius's concert works, written for four SATB soloists, double choir and orchestra.[1] It was dedicated to Fritz Cassirer, who had had an important hand in choosing the passages from Nietzsche's text.

The work was completed in 1905. Part 2 was first performed in Munich in 1908, with a complete performance in London a year later.[1] The conductor for this performance was Thomas Beecham.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kennedy, Michael (ed.). "Mass of Life, A". The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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