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Hummel: Mass In D Minor, Etc / Hickox, Gritton, Et Al


Release Date: 11/22/2005 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 724   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Pamela Helen StephenRachel NichollsStephen VarcoeMark Padmore,   ... 
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

While Johann Nepomuk Hummel was serving as concertmaster to Prince Esterházy, he composed five masses, a Te Deum, and several motets. Richard Hickox has been recording these sacred pieces for Chandos over the past few years. The disc under review is Volume 3, although it presents the second mass Hummel composed. It was completed in 1805. All five masses were written to commemorate the name day of Princess Marie Hermenegild Esterházy and continues a practice begun by Haydn.

The Mass is scored for full orchestra, four soloists, and chorus. Like his Mass, op. 80 (Chandos 0712), the soloists actually have very little solo material. Generally, their statements are brief before being consumed by the choir. The Masses
Read more in D and B? are for choir and orchestra only. Stylistically, they are like a bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods. Influences of Mozart and Haydn (two of Hummel’s teachers) are present, but elements of the emerging Romantic period can be heard. Hummel and Beethoven often had a contentious and competitive relationship (although Hummel visited Beethoven at his deathbed and served as a pall bearer), leaving one to wonder how much of the big sound of these masses was influenced by Beethoven.

There is a certain degree of pretentiousness to them. These masses sound like they were meant to impress the audiences, to shake the rafters. They’re well written, but after a while, they sound ponderous for the sake of being ponderous. After listening to them, I returned to some of his piano concertos and immediately heard what I found lacking in the masses: charm. I don’t know if charm should necessarily be an ingredient for a mass, but his piano concertos have personality, a distinctive delicacy, two characteristics I found lacking in the masses, which sound more imitative than original. They’re not unlikable, quite the contrary. The Mass in D Minor, like the others in this series that I’ve heard, is in places exciting, and almost always impressive. Richard Hickox, the soloists, and the Collegium Musicum 90 give them a first class presentation. These are very elegant performances, captured in full, rich sound.

FANFARE: David L. Kirk
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mass in D minor, S 67/WoO 13 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Pamela Helen Stephen (Mezzo Soprano), Rachel Nicholls (Soprano), Stephen Varcoe (Bass),
Mark Padmore (Tenor), Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1805 
2.
Salve regina in B flat major, S79/WoO18 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1809 

Sound Samples

Mass in D minor: Kyrie
Mass in D minor: Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo -
Mass in D minor: Gloria: Qui tollis peccata mundi -
Mass in D minor: Gloria: Cum Sancto Spiritu
Mass in D minor: Credo: Credo in unum Deum -
Mass in D minor: Credo: Et incarnatus est -
Mass in D minor: Credo: Et resurrexit -
Mass in D minor: Credo: Et exspecto
Mass in D minor: Sanctus
Mass in D minor: Benedictus
Mass in D minor: Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi
Mass in D minor: Agnus Dei: Dona nobis pacem
Salve Regina

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