forces mustered here face one of Joseph Haydn's most endearing settings
of the Mass with joy in their hearts, unless I misjudge what I hear on the
CD. The music is rich in quality and sumptious in sound, especially the
Agnus and Dona nobis pacem with battle array of trumpets and drums.
Whilst most musicians are aware of Haydn's capabilities, recollections of
what he has left us should stick in our minds for its absolute mastery of
an idiom. Haydn's fingerprints are usually identified quickly, only then
to display the wider canvas and strength in every brushstroke.
The Paukenmesse of course came from a turbulent period, and echoes
this in many ways. Nonetheless, what we hear can only bear our own estimation
of musical excellence, which is also judged in relation to the level of
involvement by performers. This aspect of the recording is lifted well clear
of the average by their commitment, excellently supported by conductor Helmuth
To cite three spots where absolute beauty takes over: the Qui tollis
of the Gloria [listen], Et incarnatus
est of the Credo [listen] and the Benedictus.
The Agnus has beautous moments, and the dramatic effect of a drum-led crescendi
as it moves towards the Dona nobis pacem [listen].
Michael Haydn's fragment of a Requiem is sadly all that he had written
before his death in 1806. His music was characteristically good and well
written, yet the music that flew out of his brother's invention blazed a
sparkling trail of liquid fire. There is little comparison.
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, December
<< Music &
Vision homepage Icelandic church music >>
Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series
of shorter CD reviews
||To listen to the aural illustrations in this review,|
you may need to download RealNetworks' realplayer G2.