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To Saint Cecilia - Purcell, Handel And Haydn / Marc Minkowski


Release Date: 10/27/2009 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 5183   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Henry PurcellGeorge Frideric HandelFranz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  David BatesNathalie StutzmannRichard CroftLucy Crowe,   ... 
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du LouvreChoeur des Musiciens du Louvre Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  


Notes and Editorial Reviews



TO CECILIA Marc Minkowski, cond; Lucy Crow, (sop); 2,3 Nathalie Stutzman (alt); 3 David Bates, (ct); 1 Anders Dahlin, (ten); 1 Richard Croft (ten); 1-3 Neil Baker (bar); 1 Luca Tittolo (bs); 1,3 Musiciens du Louvre Read more Ch; Les musiciens du Louvre (period instruments) NAÏVE 5183 (2 CDs: 120:33 Text and Translation)


PURCELL Ode to St. Cecilia , “Hail! Bright Cecilia.” 1 HANDEL A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day. 2 HAYDN Missa Cellensis in honorem beatissimæ virginis mariæ, Hob XXII:5. 3


Here is one of those sets formulated around works based upon a single topic, in this case, music written in honor of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music. It is a rather clever way of putting in one place three very different works for the sake of comparison, all of which have been recorded many times before with both regular and period instruments. In order to raise it above the level of the single disc, it is presented in a nice booklet form (with the discs as the de facto bookends) containing some substantial essays by Hilary Finch, Ivan Alexandre, and the conductor Marc Minkowski on a wide variety of topics surrounding the legend of St. Cecilia and the genesis of these works. It also allows for a variety of art, much of which, alas, seems to consist of details of the famous picture by Rafaello from about 1512 showing her as a center figure among other apostles and Mary Magdalene.


Though none of this needs historical background, given that these are works generally well known to tout le monde , as they say, their blending is a nice if curious one. One can understand the two English odes, which are facets of the same coin. Each is a multimovement oratorio that follows roughly the same pattern of extolling the effects of the various instruments. The inclusion of the Haydn Missa Cellensis seems perhaps a bit contrived. To be sure, it acquired the name Cäcilienmesse when performed in Vienna the year after its composition, but that was a function of its performance circumstances, not its original name.


All that being said, Les musiciens du Louvre gives a splendid performance of all three works. The sound quality is crisp and clear, the singers and instrumentalists equally so. I especially enjoyed the realizations. In the Purcell, in the aria “Wond’rous Machine,” the active organ part brings to mind a series of mechanical cogs that force even the voice to mesh with its ornamentation. The powerful “trumpets’ loud clangor” in the Handel is equally rousing with its rumbling timpani and crystal-clear clarion sound. Soprano Lucy Crowe’s stentorian call and response to the final apocalyptic chorus rings the rafters. It is good to have the original Haydn 1766 version of the Mass (which included only the Kyrie and Gloria), though the addition of two movements from the 1773 Credo to fill out the disc is somewhat disingenuous. Here the level of energy is somewhat less, making this performance the odd person out. The tempos are just right, and all in all this is a disc that should be in everyone’s library. You may not be a fan of St. Cecilia, but this collection may persuade you that these composers were! Highly recommended.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Hail, bright Cecilia, Z 328 "Ode on St Cecilia's Day" by Henry Purcell
Performer:  David Bates (Countertenor), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), Richard Croft (Tenor),
Lucy Crowe (Soprano), Anders J. Dahlin (Tenor), Luca Tittoto (Bass),
Neil Baker (Baritone)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
2.
Ode for St Cecilia's Day, HWV 76 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  David Bates (Countertenor), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), Richard Croft (Tenor),
Lucy Crowe (Soprano), Anders J. Dahlin (Tenor), Luca Tittoto (Bass),
Neil Baker (Baritone)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; London, England 
3.
Missa Cellensis in honorem, H 22 no 5 "Cäcilienmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Anders J. Dahlin (Tenor), Lucy Crowe (Soprano), Richard Croft (Tenor),
Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto), David Bates (Countertenor), Luca Tittoto (Bass),
Neil Baker (Baritone)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1766; Eszterhazá, Hungary 

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