Notes and Editorial Reviews
Schöpfungmesse in A after Haydn.
Mass in B?,
Roderich Kreile, cond; Anna Korondi (sop); Annette Markert (mez); Yves Saelens (ten); Klaus Mertens (bs); Dresden Kreuzchor; Dresden P
CARUS 83.245 (69:54) Live: Dresden 9/12–13/2008
Luigi Gatti’s (1740–1817)
owes a far greater debt to Haydn’s oratorio than does Haydn’s own Mass. Could it be otherwise? Haydn was always writing new music, imitating no one, least of all himself. Gatti uses Haydn’s themes, rhythms, and orchestration throughout; this is not plagiarism—it is too obvious for that. Such devoted homage produces a stale imitation of the real thing. Indeed, the freshest moments of the Gatti work are the few connecting passages of his own; we can hear them, even enjoy them, without having to make comparisons. Most of Gatti’s piece is so literal a copy that we think the soloists are merely singing the wrong words. I have never heard such an exact duplication of one composer’s work by another, which engenders a perverse fascination. The notes tell us that this sort of thing was common at the time, especially in the countryside, but that tradition hasn’t survived. Gatti’s Mass is also a condensation:
in 29 minutes.
The opening chords of Haydn’s own Kyrie restore our equilibrium and—so it sounds—that of the performers, who are suddenly fully committed, singing and playing with fresh spirit and apparent confidence. Poor Gatti is left in the dust by the performance as well as the music! The solo vocalists, who were less than sterling for Gatti, have less to do in Haydn’s mostly-choral “Schöpfungmesse,” and they do it well. Orchestral strings are 6/4/4/3/2, enough to hold their own with the wind and brass outbursts; Dresden’s magnificent, all-male Kreuzchor (with a more-than-700-year history) is about 50 voices strong. Kreile has been the choir’s conductor for more than a decade, and he handles the orchestra superbly, too. The recorded sound is excellent: lively, detailed, and well balanced, in the spacious but never too reverberant acoustic of Dresden’s Frauenkirche. That church’s organ contributes a mellifluous continuo and accompaniment. The sincerity and passion of this performance leap off this CD into your living room, making this an equal of the great recordings by English choirs and orchestras.
FANFARE: James H. North