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Haydn: Schöpfungsmesse, Harmoniemesse / Gardiner, Et Al

Release Date: 04/08/2002 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 470297   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernarda FinkChristoph PrégardienOliver WidmerSusannah Spicer,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque SoloistsMonteverdi Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 24 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is the first of three issues covering the six last and greatest of Haydn's Masses, a supreme sequence written each year towards the end of the composer's long life for the name-day of the Princess Esterhazy, wife of Haydn's employer. Gardiner adds to the attractions by choosing outstanding teams of soloists, and one specially notes the soprano for the Harmoniemesse is the young, newly recognised British singer, Joanne Lunn, with her fresh, at times almost boyish tone nicely set against the creamy contralto of Sara Mingardo.

Gardiner takes a dramatic, incisive view of these last two of the Masses, which in many ways can be said to continue Haydn's symphonic sequence. So in the Harmoniemesse the Kyrie begins with a weighty
Read more slow introduction that might have been devised for a symphony, while in the Schopfungmesse (or 'Creation Mass'), the gentle setting of the 'Kyrie eleison' gives way to a brisk, outward-going setting of the central 'Christe eleison'. Each Mass characteristically ends with an exuberant setting at high speed of the final 'Dona nobis pacem', and it is notable in both masses, each involving an orchestra larger than usual, that in his call for peace Haydn introduces martial music with trumpets and drums. Gardiner more than most seems to relate that military flavour to what Beethoven so dramatically, and much more specifically, developed in the 'Dona nobis pacem' of the Messa solemnis. The contrasts between Gardiner and Hickox bring out the positive qualities of each. Both inspire superb performances. Where Hickox is warmer in his approach with bouncing rhythms which bring out the joy of the old composer's inspiration, Gardiner is more incisive, with the Monteverdi Choir singing with pinpoint attack and exceptionally clean textures, helped by warm but relatively transparent recording quality. The Chandos sound for Hickox is a degree fuller and more immediate, with the sound for each suiting the performances.

Gardiner also tends to favour speeds a shade faster than Hickox, often challengingly so in furious speeds for the settings of 'Et resurrexit', though in such a slow movement as the Sanctus of the Schopfungrmesse Gardiner takes a broader view, moulding the phrases. Any lover of these masterpieces will be happy with either view, and the differences of coupling might well dictate choice. I look forward to Gardiner's project being completed.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [7/2002]
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Works on This Recording

Mass in B flat major, H 22 no 13 "Schöpfungmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Bernarda Fink (Alto), Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Oliver Widmer (Bass),
Susannah Spicer (Soprano), Peter Butterfield (Tenor), Ruth Ziesak (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1998 
Venue:  Colosseum, Watford, England 
Length: 41 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Mass in B flat major, H 22 no 14 "Harmoniemesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Sara Mingardo (Alto), Topi Lehtipuu (Tenor),
Brindley Sherratt (Bass), Angharad Gruffydd Jones (Soprano), Andrew Busher (Tenor),
David Watkin (Cello)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/2001 
Venue:  Colosseum, Watford, England 
Length: 43 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

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