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Gemini - Haydn: Masses / Wilhelm, Marriner, Et Al

Release Date: 05/24/2005 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 86519   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Kurt EquiluzWerner KeltschElisabeth SpeiserHelen Watts,   ... 
Conductor:  Gerhard WilhelmSir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental EnsembleStuttgart Hymnus Boys ChoirLeipzig Radio Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 36 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These...are all reissues, although the 1969 Missa Cellensis may have been issued only in Germany. It receives an old-fashioned but extremely heartfelt performance that eventually wins me over. The big-name soloists all deliver: Elisabeth Speiser has a fine, liquid soprano and sings well, although she cannot match Maria Stader (on an early stereo Eugen Jochum recording, which is—unfortunately—not the Jochum currently available) or Lucia Popp (Rafael Kubelík). Helen Watts’s deep contralto contrasts nicely, and both men are outstanding. Vocal ornamentation is tasteful but limited. The Stuttgart chorus is lovely; a reverberant acoustic (Ev. Stadtkirche, Schwaigern—a tiny, distant suburb of Stuttgart) conceals its size, as it does that of Read more the excellent Werner Keltsch Instrumental Ensemble. Everything is solidly on pitch; playing and singing are sweet and accurate all around, and the soft-edged analog recording is a pleasure. The several fugues in this 1766 Mass are nicely realized. Solo voices are to the fore, the chorus behind them, and the orchestra a bit distant, especially trumpets and drums. One does miss the bright colors and hard-hitting attacks of period instruments at such moments as the “Cum Sancto Spiritu” and the “Credo in unum Deum,” but this mostly gentle if lengthy work lacks the concentrated energy and fiery high spirits found in many of Haydn’s later masses. I recently recommended Richard Hickox on Chandos as the best period-instrument recording available, but I don’t think it gels into as convincing a performance as this one; nor does the Simon Preston on Decca, which employs modern instruments. Readers are reminded, however, that J. F. Weber, Fanfare’s supreme arbiter of religious choral music, has found both Hickox (in 25:2) and Preston (6:1) to be excellent. Gerhard Wilhelm and his forces demonstrate that a carefully crafted, finely honed performance outweighs purely stylistic concerns.

...This “Schöpfungmesse” is marvelous, as fine a modern-instrument performance as I know. Marriner’s wonderful Stuttgart recording of Die Schöpfung (with Barbara Bonney) was recorded just three months earlier, which may have contributed to his success in this 1989 recording. Joy and high spirits prevail... A different team of soloists—Hendricks, Murray, Blochwitz, Hölle—delivers much beauty in always appropriate style. Love breaks out all over, be it that of Adam and Eve in Die Schöpfung or the love of God. In 1801 Empress Marie Therese, normally a Haydn supporter, objected to the musical quotation and made Haydn alter the printed score of this Mass (thanks to Richard Wigmore’s program notes)...

-- James H. North, FANFARE [11/2005]
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Works on This Recording

Missa Cellensis in honorem, H 22 no 5 "Cäcilienmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Kurt Equiluz (Tenor), Werner Keltsch (Violin), Elisabeth Speiser (Soprano),
Helen Watts (Alto), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Gerhard Wilhelm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Stuttgart Hymnus Boys Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1766; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 11/1969 
Venue:  Evangelical Church, Schwaigern, Germany 
Length: 73 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 
Missa in tempore belli, H 22 no 9 "Paukenmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Carolyn Watkinson (Alto), Margaret Marshall (Soprano), Keith Lewis (Tenor),
Robert Holl (Bass), Clemens Dillner (Cello), Hansjürgen Scholze (Organ)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1985 
Venue:  Evangelical Church, Schwaigern, Germany 
Length: 40 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 
Mass in B flat major, H 22 no 13 "Schöpfungmesse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Matthias Hölle (Bass), Hansjürgen Scholze (Organ), Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor),
Ann Murray (Alto), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1989 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 42 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 

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