WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Dittersdorf: Requiem In C Minor, Litany In D Major, Etc / Ratzinger

Release Date: 08/25/2009 
Label:  Ars Musici   Catalog #: 232221   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer:  Hanna FarinelliBirgit CalmHeiner HopfnerNikolaus Hillebrand,   ... 
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral ChoirConsortium Musicum
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

DITTERSDORF Requiem in c. Laurentian Litany. Offertory for St. John Nepomuk Georg Ratzinger, cond; Hanna Farinelli (sop); Birgit Calm (alt); Heiner Hopfner (ten); Nikolaus Hillebrand (bs); Regensburg Cathedral Ch; Consortium Musicum München ARS MUSICI 232221 (62:42 )

It is a difficult task to know where to place Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf in the world of music. Although his career was more varied and interesting than, say, that of Michael Haydn, whom he succeeded for a Read more few years at the Episcopal court of Grosswardein in the 1760s, his current reputation seems to have relegated him to being considered something of a historical joke, combining the unholy trio of a funny-sounding name (and yes, he did receive a patent of nobility in 1774 from Empress Maria Theresa), a historical place as the single most mediocre composer of his age (sort of a late-18th-century Telemann, if one will), and an apparent lack of respect given him and his musical accomplishments up to the present day.

Such a reputation is, of course, highly undeserved, and no truer for Dittersdorf than it is for Telemann. Indeed, this has begun to change somewhat slowly and gradually, with more substantial offerings that are well composed and often quite dramatic. Two oratorios, Ester and Giob , have been recorded, the first with the Budapest Chamber Choir and Liszt Chamber Orchestra (Hungaroton 11745) and the latter with Herman Max’s Rheinische Kantorei (cpo 999 790). Good recordings of a number of characteristic symphonies (i.e., those with titles) were released on Naxos, and there is even a decent recording of Doktor und Apoteker.

This disc, recorded during the mid 1980s, presents premiere recordings of three pieces of sacred music; a Requiem that was well regarded throughout the Holy Roman Empire, a Laurentine Litany, and an offertory motet for the feast of St. John Nepomuk. All three works present different sides of Dittersdorf as a composer of sacred music. The first is a multimovement work that reflects a more generic use than, say, Mozart’s Requiem. The Sequence, for example, is entirely through-composed, rather than being divided up. It is also mostly in a major key, though there is one rather spooky moment in the “Tuba mirum” when a single trumpet in the lowest register alternates with a string ostinato that paraphrases Gluck’s Don Juan . The chorus then enters in unison, like a parody of a chant, an effective text painting. The offertory is also extremely adept, with a powerful chorus following a bass recitative/aria (the missing trumpet and timpani parts of which have been tastefully restored). The litany is a merely pleasant piece. Of particular note is the chorus “Regina angelorum,” which Dittersdorf sets as a 6/8 gigue; the angels must truly have had a great dance. The only weak part is the final “Agnus dei,” which has a meandering theme that seems to go nowhere and ends all too abruptly.

In terms of sound quality, its age is clear. There is often a bit too much reverberation that sometimes makes it seem like the orchestra and chorus are just slightly behind the beat. The soloists are quite secure in their performances, a particularly good example being the “Sancta Maria” of the litany, where the solos and blending of the voices provide a lovely effect, although there is a bit of a nasal quality to Farinelli’s soprano. Ratzinger keeps his tempos lively but discrete, allowing the Consortium to interpret the music rather than simply run through it. If there is one drawback, it is that sometimes the strings can be a bit muddy, especially when combined with the organ continuo. The booklet notes, however, leave something to be desired; reading through one finds numerous references to monastic composers, those unsung (pun intended) workaday people who don’t even rate mention in most lexicons.

This recording may not inspire a Dittersdorf revival, but it does represent him as a fully professional composer of sacred music. Though the recording itself is a bit outdated in terms of sound quality, perhaps it will inspire one of the north German groups to reexamine these pieces. Recommended for those who are interested in 18th-century sacred music.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
Read less

Works on This Recording

Requiem in C minor by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer:  Hanna Farinelli (Soprano), Birgit Calm (Mezzo Soprano), Heiner Hopfner (Tenor),
Nikolaus Hillebrand (Bass)
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir,  Consortium Musicum
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; Austria 
Offertory for St. John Nepomuk by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer:  Nikolaus Hillebrand (Bass), Heiner Hopfner (Tenor), Hanna Farinelli (Soprano),
Birgit Calm (Alto)
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir,  Consortium Musicum
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 
Lauretanian Litany in D major by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Performer:  Birgit Calm (Alto), Hanna Farinelli (Soprano), Heiner Hopfner (Tenor),
Rudolf Hillebrand (Bass)
Conductor:  Georg Ratzinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regensburg Cathedral Choir,  Consortium Musicum
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title