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Mozart: Mass In C Minor / McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort

Release Date: 01/10/2006 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 4775744   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFranz Joseph HaydnLudwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Katy BircherKatharina SpreckelsenTimothy RobinsonSally Jackson,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli ConsortGabrieli Players
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This new Mozart C minor Mass has two major assets: Sarah Connolly, who sings the Laudamus te, and an outstanding chorus. It also has soprano Camilla Tilling, whose Kyrie and Et incarnatus est are sung about as well as anyone on disc, the former confident, expertly phrased, and fluid, the latter with similarly lovely, long-lined phrasing, bright tone (gorgeous top notes!), and facile technique. Connolly's Laudamus te steals the show; this is a consummate artist who knows her voice and uses it fully and freely and in absolute concordance with the music. Conductor Paul McCreesh does some of his best work here--by staying out of the way (not something he does often) and allowing the work's varied stylistic aspects to shine through. (For those Read more who are interested, the edition used here is by Richard Maunder.) We clearly feel the weighty, Bach-like Kyrie and buoyant Handelian choruses (again, the chorus is superb), and are uplifted by the ideally-paced soprano solos. And we shouldn't neglect to mention the finely-tuned, articulate orchestral playing whose rhythmic bounce and responsiveness to dynamic variation indicates a well-defined and unified group effort.

My one complaint is that the sound varies from crisp and detailed to saturated and muddy. The orchestra is often a bit too recessed, and at other times the chorus' words and sectional distinctions are unclear because the orchestra is overpowering. One example: the opening of the Sanctus, where the brass and winds' annunciation is merely present, not arresting, and the chorus could be singing literally anything, in any language. Given the logistics--large orchestra, double choir, four soloists, organ--it's not so surprising that clarity and balance would present some problems, and overall this is a very respectable performance that would stand proud in any CD collection.

There's also a bonus, although it's a bit odd from a programming standpoint. For some reason McCreesh chose to fill out the disc with two works that have absolutely nothing to do with Mozart's Mass--or with Mozart, or with sacred music at all. Rather, we are treated to two "dramatic cantatas", one from Haydn, the other from Beethoven. And although it's hard to figure the rationale for including these with Mozart's grand sacred work, once you hear the performances--the Haydn by Connolly, the Beethoven by Tilling, you probably won't care. They are wonderful--and another chance to hear these two brilliant singers show their stuff is a treat whenever and wherever you find it. [6/30/2006]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Mass in C minor, K 427 (417a) "Great" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Katy Bircher (Flute), Katharina Spreckelsen (Oboe), Timothy Robinson (Tenor),
Sally Jackson (Bassoon), Sarah Connolly (Soprano), Camilla Tilling (Soprano),
Neal Davies (Baritone)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/2004 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, England 
Length: 48 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 
Berenice, che fai, H 24a no 10 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Sarah Connolly (Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
Date of Recording: 10/2004 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Ah, Perfido!, Op. 65 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Camilla Tilling (Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795-1796; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/2004 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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