Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Sacred Masterworks

Release Date: 12/4/2020
Label: Sony
Catalog Number: 19439787772
Number of Discs: 16

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the last decade before his death in 2016, the Austrian early-music pioneer Nikolaus Harnoncourt returned to Baroque and Classical choral masterpieces he had interpreted with such individuality and intensity in the early decades of his long career. And, after years of collaboration with many of the world’s major symphony orchestras, he came “home” to the Vienna Concentus Musicus, the period-instrument ensemble he founded as early as 1953. The concerts were recorded live in the Musikverein and released on disc. Sony Classical now collects them for the first time in a single box of 16 albums. Included are, of course, works by Bach, including the Christmas Oratorio, with an all-star line-up of soloists along with the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, recorded in December 2006. Gramophone praised the performances’ “uncanny freshness and generosity” and “unforced sweep of grandeur, complementing supple pastoral mosaics”.

A year later, Harnoncourt returned to perform and record three famous Bach cantatas. His late thoughts on Haydn’s Creation (“scrupulously attentive to detail but guided also by an eye for the pictorial imagination of the score and a deep feeling for its sense of wonder and reverence” – Gramophone) were documented in March 2003; on the Mozart Requiem in December of that year (“This new recording has everything going for it. The soloists are all excellent” – ClassicsToday). The new set also showcases the unpredictably versatile conductor in Romantic repertoire: the Requiems of Brahms and Verdi and the Dvorák Stabat Mater. But perhaps the jewel in the crown of this Harnoncourt collection derives from his profoundly moving 2015 concert performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, recorded with the Concentus Musicus and Arnold Schoenberg Chor less than a year before his death. “Beethoven scribbled ‘with devotion’ in the score a dozen times, and Harnoncourt is here devoted to Beethoven,” wrote ClassicsToday.

Works on This Recording
1. Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Anton Scharinger (Bass), Kurt Streit (Tenor), Julia Kleiter (Soprano), Elisabeth von Magnus (Alto)
Period: Baroque
Written: 1731 ; Leipzig, Germany
2. Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig, ist der Menschen Leben, BWV 26 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Anton Scharinger (Bass), Kurt Streit (Tenor), Julia Kleiter (Soprano), Elisabeth von Magnus (Alto)
Period: Baroque
Written: 1724 ; Leipzig, Germany
3. Wir danken dir, Gott, BWV 29 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Gerald Finley (Baritone), Werner Güra (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano), Christine Schäfer (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Baroque
Written: 1731 ; Leipzig, Germany
4. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Gerald Finley (Baritone), Christine Schäfer (Soprano), Werner Güra (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Baroque
Written: 1714 ; Cöthen, Germany
5. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Anton Scharinger (Bass), Kurt Streit (Tenor), Julia Kleiter (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Baroque
Written: 1731 ; Leipzig, Germany
6. Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Finley (Baritone), Christian Gerhaher (Baritone), Werner Güra (Tenor), Christine Schäfer (Soprano)
Period: Baroque
Written: 1734-1735 ; Leipzig, Germany
7. Messiah, HWV 56 by George Frideric Handel
Performer: Gerald Finley (Bass), Stefan Gottfried (Harpsichord), Michael Schade (Tenor), Christine Schäfer (Soprano), Herbert Tachezi (Organ), Anna Larsson (Mezzo Soprano), Herwig Tachezi (Cello)
Period: Baroque
Written: 1741 ; London, England
8. The Creation, H 21 no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer: Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Christian Gerhaher (Baritone), Michael Schade (Tenor)
Period: Classical
Written: 1796-1798 ; Vienna, Austria
9. Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Gerald Finley (Baritone), Kurt Streit (Tenor), Christine Schäfer (Soprano), Bernarda Fink (Alto)
Period: Classical
Written: 1791 ; Vienna, Austria
10. Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Florian Boesch (Baritone), Laura Aikin (Soprano), Herbert Lippert (Tenor)
Period: Classical
Written: 1803-1804 ; Vienna, Austria
11. Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Johannes Chum (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano), Laura Aikin (Soprano), Ruben Drole (Bass-baritone)
Period: Classical
Written: 1823 ; Vienna, Austria
12. Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Ildebrando D'Archangelo (Bass), Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano), Eva Mei (Soprano), Michael Schade (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1874 ; Italy
13. German Requiem, Op. 45 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Genia Kühmeier (Soprano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1854-1868 ; Austria
14. Stabat Mater, Op. 58/B 71 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Franz Hawlata (Bass), Luba Orgonasova (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Birgit Remmert (Alto)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1876-1877 ; Bohemia
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