on 1 June 2001
This "twofer" from Decca is a very inexpensive way to acquaint yourself with four of Haydn's superb settings of the Mass at one fell swoop.The famous Wilcocks recording of the "Nelson Mass" (in a very fresh transfer) may have drawn you in initially,but just as attractive to my mind are the other "late" Masses i.e the "Paukenmesse" and "Harmoniemesse".Both are supreme examples of what happened when Haydn's mastery of the symphonic form collided in a glorious fashion with the liturgy towards the end of his career.The other fruits of this sacred explosion were the "Theresienmesse" and "Schopfungsmesse",and I sincerely can't recommend them too highly to you.They can be found on the other "twofer" in this reissue,or why not indulge yourself in the Decca box of the complete Masses on seven CDs.For a relatively modest investment,you will reap dividends for life in that particular Heavenly collection.
Not to be neglected for a moment is the charming "Little Organ Mass" from earlier on in the master's career.The high point here is the lovely Benedictus with that extended solo for Soprano and organ.Jennifer Smith and John Scott positively luxuriate in the limelight in this magical passage.
If I have a complaint to make about the 2CD set here;it's that the "Paukenmesse" is awkwardly split between the discs.It's "torso" of Kyrie,Gloria and Credo is on disc 1 while the Sanctus,Benedictus and that brilliant Agnus Dei are isolated on disc 2.Call me slothful if you like,but I really resent my carefully nurtured reverie been interupted by the onerous task of changing the discs over.But it's churlish of me to carp on about such a minor detail,when the goods on offer are of such high quality and come in such a generous quantity.Go ahead and buy in complete confidence that you will be getting performances of outstanding merit that truly make these fabulous Masses sing and soar in a manner that will have you embracing your speakers in sheer delight !
on 14 March 2009
What price art? Well, in 'credit crunch' Britain, quite a lot actually. These are pioneering performances of wonderful, inspired masses by Father Haydn, performed here with enormous vigour and joyful abandon. This is great music making and it has not been bettered in the 'authentic' performance period since this was committed to disc. Buy it and be inspired!
However, as at March 2010, I would recommend the new Naxos set of the complete masses (see review). This older set is still wonderful though.
on 9 April 2014
Excellent recording and performance. However, the version also posted to my "cloud" was the wrong set of four Haydn Masses. A phone call was all that was necessary to correct this, however, and I now have the correct download as well as the CDs.