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Haydn: Mass In D Minor "nelsonmesse", Symphony No 103 / Gielen, Lind, Danz, Taylor, Hagen, Et Al

Release Date: 07/14/2009 
Label:  Glor Classics   Catalog #: 8041   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  James TaylorEva LindIngeborg DanzReinhard Hagen
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony OrchestraEuropa Chorakademie
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN Mass in d, “Nelson Mass.” Symphony No. 103, “Drumroll” Michael Gielen, cond; Eva Lind (sop); Ingeborg Danz (alt); James Taylor (ten); Reinhard Hagen (bs); EuropaChorAkademie; Baden-Baden and Freiburg Southwest German RSO GLOR 8041 (65:38)

The Missa in angustiis , or Mass in Time of Anguish , is also known as Read more the “Nelson Mass,” though no one knows precisely why. Haydn would not have heard of Nelson’s defeat of the French at Abukir until after the piece was written, we are told. But Nelson, who was seen as a savior (temporary, as it turned out) of Vienna as well as of England, heard the Mass when he visited Vienna two years later; the nickname might have come from then. At any rate, it is a sober work in a minor key, perhaps martial-sounding in its use of trumpets and timpani, and it has been successfully recorded repeatedly. I recently listened to the now decades old performance led by Hans Swarowsky and released on Nonesuch. In my world, that performance was superseded by the David Willcocks recording reissued with a group of masses conducted by George Guest on London. I found the Bernstein disturbingly mannered. This new recording by Michael Gielen has the advantage of more vivid sound: it is beautifully recorded, but also well paced, lively, and intense, the relative hush of the opening of the Sanctus perfectly modulated after the good news of “Et resurrexit.” Gielen’s tempos are brisker in general than were Willcocks’s. Willcocks seemed to see the piece as virtually tragic. To my ears, Willcocks had superior soloists: I object to the excessively tremulous female voices in the Gielen. But the boldness of Gielen’s conception of the piece and the sweep and coherence of the interpretation make his a valuable addition to the repertoire.

Rather than round out the disc with a smaller vocal work, Gielen has chosen the almost equally weighty “Drum Roll” Symphony; well, at least the beginning, with its foreboding drumming and Adagio, fits the mood of the “Nelson” Mass. Gielen complicates that initial drum roll, making a little drum solo out of what is, in most recordings, a simple roll. Colin Davis is more convincing at the joyous music that follows, but the sound here is gorgeous and the recording, if not positively bouncy, is sufficiently lively.

FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 103 in E flat major, H 1 no 103 "Drumroll" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
Length: 27 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Mass in D minor, H 22 no 11 "Nelsonmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  James Taylor (Tenor), Eva Lind (Soprano), Ingeborg Danz (Alto),
Reinhard Hagen (Bass)
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Chorakademie,  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 

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