Christ in the Mount of Olives, Op. 85

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Christ in the Mount of Olives (Christus am Ölberge), Op. 85, is an oratorio by L. van Beethoven, portraying the turmoil of Jesus in Gethsemane. The German libretto, by Franz Xaver Huber, was written in very short time. It was first performed in 1803, and the ten years that passed between composition and publication resulted in a relatively high opus number. The work is a dramatic oratorio rather than a choral Mass, and it concludes at the point of Jesus personally accepting his fate, placing the emphasis on his own decision rather than the later events. it is scored for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists, with standard SATB chorus and symphony orchestra. The tenor sings as Jesus, with the soprano as a seraph (angel) and the bass as Peter. A complete performance lasts approximately 50 minutes. Beethoven was quite critical of the piece (his only oratorio) and of the performance of the orchestra and chorus at its premiere. The critical response to the work's initial performance was mixed and it has since drifted into obscurity, being rarely performed.

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