Faber: Missa Maria Assumpta


The circumstances surrounding the composition of the Missa Maria Assumptaby Joannes Adamus Faber (ca. 1692-1759) for the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp in 1720, constitute one of the riddles of the development of the clarinet repertoire. It contains one of the earliest known parts for clarinet.

The clarinet had come into existence hardly two decades before in Germany. Its repertoire at that time consisted of a handful of anonymous duets, and two modest parts in the Juditha Triumphans oratorio (1716) by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) and the opera Ifigenia in Aulide (1718) by Antonio Caldara (ca. 1670-1736).

Faber used the clarinet in a completely different and lyrical way. His parts allow the clarinet to enter into dialogue with the singing voices, a role that hitherto had been reserved for the oboe.

Faber is known to have composed only three works, the Missa Maria Assumpta, the Missa et Ressurexit and a motet called Quam Delicto. All three date from 1720, the year in which Faber was accepted as a probationer by the chapter. It is possible that Faber wanted to impress the chapter by giving this new instrument a solo role and thus secure a position as the choirmaster of the cathedral. Other possibilities are that Faber had already become familiar with the clarinet on his journey from his home in Mainz to Antwerp, or that he knew of it via instrument makers, such as Willems and Rottenburgh of Brussels, or Boekhout of Amsterdam.

— From liner notes by Vlad Weverbergh

‘A most interesting and musically compelling piece. The performances are very good. The clarinet parts are obviously especially interesting, and these are given fine performances by Vlad Weverbergh. I urge anyone who likes to broaden his horizon to investigate it, and especially lovers of the clarinet should add this disc to their collection.’


‘Faber mixes the baroque style with Vivaldi’s Mediterranean swung, which Terra Nova Collective grasps to its full extent.’

Klassieke Zaken

‘ Faber would be extremely pleased with the ensemble’s high standards, which allow both the vocalists and instrumentalists to lay down an excellent performance. ’

De Klarinet