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Schubert: Mass In A Flat Major / Johannsen, Stuttgart Kantorei

Schubert / Brown / Sandhoff / Karasiak / Berndt
Release Date: 12/08/2009 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83436  
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas KarasiakRuth SandhoffTobias BerndtAndrea Lauren Brown
Conductor:  Kay Johannsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart StiftsphilharmonieStuttgart Kantorei
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The Carus label seems to specialise in clean recordings of performances infused with refinement and clarity, and this Mass in A flat major is no exception. Kay Johannsen has appeared before on the Carus label, producing some highly regarded recordings as an organist, but his work as conductor of the Stuttgarter Kantorei and Stiftsphilharmonie Stuttgart are no less a significant part of his musical activities, and his recordings with soloist vocal ensemble Stimmkunst have also been received with critical acclaim.
Of Schubert’s six Latin masses, the Messe in As-Dur, D678 is his fifth, and ambitious in scale. His intention was to dedicate it to Emperor Franz I, but as is often the way with noble
Read more patrons, the emperor is said to have preferred his masses more compact and straightforward. The piece is a combination of church style counterpoint, represented in the Kyrie which gives a romantic turn to a more antique linear style, and symphonic form in the thematic recapitulations and other features in the subsequent Gloria. This aspect of the piece provides interesting contrast rather than giving a feel of stylistic discontinuity, and Schubert’s trademark melodic strength is something which holds the larger forms together very nicely indeed.
This recording and performance as a whole is of the very highest standard, with a nice balance between choir and orchestra, and the soloists not unnaturally forward. The soloists are a very strong team, with Andrea Lauren Brown’s pure soprano tones deserving special mention. As one might expect, the choral intonation and phrasing is usually impeccable, though one soprano does stick out for one momentarily unguarded rather forced note 2:26 into the Domine Deus, and the soprano group does occasionally fall a little below the note on high melodic peaks. There isn’t an especially ‘period’ emphasis in the performance and modern instruments are used, though as mentioned, clarity and a lightness of touch is an important part of the performance, even in grander tutti passages."

-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Mass no 5 in A flat major, D 678 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Karasiak (Tenor), Ruth Sandhoff (Mezzo Soprano), Tobias Berndt (Bass),
Andrea Lauren Brown (Soprano)
Conductor:  Kay Johannsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Stiftsphilharmonie,  Stuttgart Kantorei
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 

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