Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mass in d.
Hermann Max, cond; Mária Zádori (sop); Lena Susanne Norin (alt); Kai Wessel (ct); Hans Jörg Mammel, Wilfried Jochens (ten); Klaus Mertens, Stephan Schreckenberger (bs); Rhenish Kantorei; Kleine Konzert (period instruments)
CAPRICCIO 5125 (55:49)
Capriccio has reached into its back catalog to mate two works from two different recordings in a different combination from the one originally released
under catalog number 10570. The original CD contained the Hasse Mass included on the present disc, but coupled it with Johann David Heinchen’s Requiem in E?-Major. In that configuration, it was reviewed by Brian Robins in
23:4. A recording of Hasse’s
was also reviewed by Robins in the issue prior, but it wasn’t this one. It was a performance by the Dresden Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir on a Raumklang CD. The original Capriccio
with Hermann Max and these same Rhine forces appeared under catalog number 10557 and was coupled with other sacred works by Heinchen and Jan Dismas Zelenka. Capriccio’s reuniting of the two Hasse works on the current CD makes sense, I suppose, but the original Hasse/Heinchen coupling offered more generous timing. Be that as it may, the Mass was recorded in late April 1995, the
in late April 1993.
Hasse returned, for a time at least, to his duties as Kapellmeister at the Dresden court following a trip to France, and it was upon his return that he wrote the D-Minor Mass in 1751. By then, he was already acclaimed far and wide as one of the greatest opera composers of the day. Neither a court appointment nor the lifestyle of his famous soprano wife, Faustina Bordoni, could long keep Hasse in Dresden. The city and its court, in fact, served primarily as a home base for the couple; she sang her way across the opera stages of Europe, and he freely came and went to oversee and direct performances of his operas in Turin, Rome, Venice, and Naples. Yet when back in Dresden, he found time to compose a considerable volume of sacred and instrumental chamber music.
Hasse is respectful of the “learned” style considered appropriate for the setting of liturgical texts. In other words, he didn’t avail himself of the opportunity in either the Mass or the
to compose another opera; the writing in neither work is overly florid or operatic in style and, as Robins points out in his review, Hasse readily demonstrates his grasp of fugue and contrapuntal technique. As admired as Hasse may have been in Italy, however, there’s no mistaking the Mass for the work of either an Italian or a Baroque composer. The writing is already that of the early Classical period and of a type of choral-orchestral engagement that would soon resonate in the Masses of Haydn.
is a rather different affair. First, it’s a much earlier work than the Mass, originally written perhaps as early as 1730; and second, that plus the fact that it was produced in Venice for performance during Holy Week explains the simpler homophonic and more modest style of the piece. The original version of the work called for women’s voices only, but a later Dresden version—the one heard here—is expanded to include tenor and bass soloists as well as male choristers.
At the time Robins reviewed the original Capriccio CD, he stated that neither the Mass nor the
had been previously recorded. That was in 2000 and, as far as I can tell, no subsequent recording of the Mass has appeared. In
35:1, however, Bertil van Boer reviewed a new release on Carus of Hasse’s C-Major Requiem, which happened to be coupled with the
. So at least one of the two works has had a more recent outing.
The performances on the present disc sound perfectly fine and the recording is more than serviceable. Even if the operas of the long-lived Hasse (1699–1783) are today largely ignored in favor of the operas of his slightly older contemporary Handel, Hasse and his diva wife were forces to be reckoned with for much of the first half of the 18th century. Hasse’s music is worth getting to know. A worthwhile, recommended reissue.
FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Works on This Recording
Mass in D minor by Johann Adolf Hasse
Mária Zádori (Soprano),
Lena Susanne Norin (Alto),
Hans Jörg Mammel (Tenor),
Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Das Kleine Konzert
Written: by 1751; Dresden, Germany
Miserere in C minor by Johann Adolf Hasse
Mária Zádori (Soprano),
Kai Wessel (Countertenor),
Wilfried Jochens (Tenor),
Stephan Schreckenberger (Bass)
Das Kleine Konzert
Written: c 1740/50
Be the first to review this title