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Mozart: Great Mass In C Minor / Christopher Hogwood, Et Al

Release Date: 07/20/1999 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 425528   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Arleen AugérLynne DawsonJohn Mark AinsleyDavid Thomas
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient MusicWinchester Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new version of the C minor Mass seems to me one of the most impressive things Christopher Hogwood has done.

Sometimes I have felt hesitant about using the word 'interpretation' for his performances, which have been apt to seem objective and lacking in emotional commitment. However, the grandeur and the elevated quality of the ''noble torso'' that is all Mozart wrote of the C minor Mass have apparently touched something deeper in Hogwood, and though the performance still bears the imprints of his approach it carries more expressive weight than usual. It begins with a steady and powerful Kyrie, monumental in feeling, dark in tone. The big choruses of the Gloria have plenty of energy, where that is called for—as in
Read more the ''Gloria in excelsis'', which has a fine drive to its rhythms, though it is not fast, and the closing ''Cum sancto spiritu'' fugue, excellently sustained—and sufficient of the sombre, too, as in the ''Qui tollis''. The Credo is lively, perhaps a shade pushed; the ''Osanna'' has a fine, energetic gait.

Hogwood uses a boys' choir, rightly I think, not simply because that is what Mozart took for granted but because the freshness and ring of boys' voices, and the extra clarity they impart to the textures, bring nothing but advantage. There is a splendid team of soloists, headed by Arleen Auger in excellent voice, full, warm and glowing—a tasteful, unaffected singer, she is surely the leading soprano in this repertory today. The broad, open phrasing in the ''Laudamus te'', with the leaps true and the semiquaver runs perfectly placed, is a delight; and the interplay of solo voices, with Lynne Dawson's more grainy one in the ''Domine Deus'', and in the ''Quoniam'' trio with the admirable tenor of John Mark Ainsley too, is always pleasing. The big solo number here, of course, is the ''Et incarnatus'', and here the music is somewhat different from usual because Hogwood uses a new edition by Richard Maunder which fills out the skeletal version left by Mozart rather more fully than do existing texts. Maunder's added horn parts take a little getting used to, but by and large are pretty persuasive; his sustained string writing at some points seems to me more questionable. Auger's singing, in any case, is beautiful; it is traditional to call this music 'operatic', but that is to my mind based on a misapprehension of style, and her reading of it seems to me deely expressive without in any way transgressing the proper limits of sacred music.

-- Stanley Sadie, Gramophone, 7/1990
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Works on This Recording

Mass in C minor, K 427 (417a) "Great" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Arleen Augér (Soprano), Lynne Dawson (Soprano), John Mark Ainsley (Tenor),
David Thomas (Bass)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782-1783; Vienna, Austria 

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