Archive for September, 2009

Claudio Monteverdi – Selva morale e spirituale (2003)


Label: Harmonia Mundi, HMA 1951250
Year: 2003


Les Arts Florissants
William Christie – conductor

“These are full-blooded accounts, lively, energetic, beautifully paced, dramatic, lyrical remarkable. Essential listening.” – Gramophone
“This is gorgeous music, flawlessly served, and this disc is an important part of any serious collector’s library.” – American Record Guide


01. Gloria 12’30
02. Chi vol che m’innamori 7’47
03. O ciechi ciechi 3’47
04. Adoramus 3’34
05. Confitebor terzo alla francese 6’31
06. Confitebor tibi Domine 12’57
07. Laudate Dominum 2’43
08. E questa vita un lampo 2’32
09. Beatus vir 7’21


Claudio Monteverdi – Vespers of the Blessed Virgin


Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)

Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (2CDs)

Label: Naxos, 8.550662-63
Year: 1995


Sopranos – Kym Amps, Janet Coxwell
Altos – Angus Davidson, Frances Jellard
Tenors – Robin Doveton, Julian Podger (with John Bowen, no.7)
Basses – David van Asch, Adrian Peacock Violins, Pauline Nobes, William Thorp
Cornetts – Jeremy West, Nicholas Perry, Susan Smith
Sackbuts – Paul Nieman, Martin Pope, David Stewart
Violoncello – Jan Spencer Chitarrone, Robin Jeffry

Organ – Terence Charlston

The Scholars Baroque Ensemble

David van Asch – conductor


Disc 1
01. Domine ad adiuvandum
02. Psalm 109: Dixit Dominus
03. Concerto: Nigra sum
04. Psalm 112: Laudate pueri dominum
05. Concerto: Pulchra es
06. Psalm 121: Laetatus sum
07. Concerto: Duo seraphim
08. Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus
09. Concerto: Audi coelum
10. Psalm 147: Lauda Ierusalem

Disc 2
01. Sonata: Sancta Maria ora pro nobis
02. Hymn: Ave maris stella
03. Magnificat: Magnificat
04. Magnificat: Et exultavit
05. Magnificat: Quia respexit
06. Magnificat: Quia fecit mihi magna
07. Magnificat: Et misericordia
08. Magnificat: Fecit potentiam
09. Magnificat: Deposuit potentes de sede
10. Magnificat: Esurientes implevit bonis
11. Magnificat: Suscepit Israel
12. Magnificat: Sicut locutus est
13. Magnificat: Gloria Patri
14. Magnificat: Sicut erat in principio

[b]The lack of precise information about Monteverdi’s original intentions when writing his Vespers of 1610 makes it impossible to claim true “authenticity” when preparing performances of this marvellous work. First, like other composers until late in the seventeenth century, Monteverdi did not specify instrumentation of his works in any great detail (in only two parts of the Vespers does he give precise indications as to instrumental scoring). Secondly, it is not absolutely clear what instruments Monteverdi had at his disposal and which could or could not have been used in church. It is not even absolutely clear that Monteverdi wrote the Vespers exclusively for use in a religious service or, indeed, if they were written to be performed as a whole. Additionally, musicologists are not in agreement as to the correct pitch used for different parts of the work.
The Scholars Baroque Ensemble, using a score prepared for them by Clifford Bartlett, has opted to perform the work with one singer and one player to a part with a continuo section consisting of violoncello, chitarrone and organ. No sixteen foot instrument is used. Antiphons, suitable only for church services at specific times of the church year, have not been added and the final Magnificat has been maintained at the higher pitch to give a more dramatic ending to the whole work.


Anton Bruckner, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger – Mass in E minor, Requiem in E flat major


Anton Bruckner
Josef Gabriel Rheinberger

Mass in E minor, Requiem in E flat major

Label: Carus, 83.414
Year: 2008


Saarbrucken Chamber Choir
Mannheim Philharmonic Brass

Georg Grun – conductor

A good new recording of Bruckner’s Mass in E minor is always welcome. Scored for mixed choir accompanied sparingly but effectively by winds and brass, the work is the devoutly Catholic Austrian Romantic composer’s purest and most inward mass setting, and for those who revere his deeply spiritualized symphonies, the work has long been a favorite. It is also one of the composer’s most difficult masses to bring off in performance; long stretches of it are unaccompanied, thereby testing a choir’s intonation, and all of it is technically demanding. Fortunately, the KammerChor Saarbrucken is a superbly polished group with a warmly glowing tone, a seemingly effortless technique, a sense of intonation that never wavers and a real feel for the music’s austere idiom. Accompanied by the Blaser der Kammerphilharmonie Mannheim directed by Georg Grun, the KammerChor turns in a performance of Bruckner’s E minor Mass, which can stand comparison with the best of earlier recordings, including its own 1991 recording with Frieder Bernius. As couplings, Carus provides Bruckner’s radiant motet Libera me, Domine (WAB 22) and Rheinberger’s hitherto unrecorded a cappella Requiem, and while the later work cannot hold a candle to the intensity of Bruckner’s sacred music, it is nevertheless a well written piece that deserves to be heard by listeners dedicated to nineteenth century German sacred music. Carus’ digital sound is cool, but deep, and surprisingly atmospheric.

In his well-known “Mass in E minor” Anton Bruckner combined the vocal style of the Palestrina period with the musical resources of his own time. Along with its austere sound picture and its powerful dynamic contrasts, this Mass differs from Bruckner’s other orchestral masses above all by reason of its uncommon accompaniment of wind instruments alone. In addition to Bruckner’s demanding funeral motet “Libera me”, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger’s “Requiem in E flat” op. 84 is here recorded for the first time. In a masterful a cappella structure Rheinberger created, with straightforward resources, wide areas of tension and extremely effective musical highlights. The KammerChor Saarbrucken again demonstrates its supreme quality, convincing especially in the absolutely homogeneously sung a cappella passages and by its fine dynamic shading.


Anton Bruckner
Mass no 2 in E minor, WAB 27
Libera me Domine in F minor, WAB 22

Josef Gabriel Rheinberger
Requiem in E flat minor, Op. 84


Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann David Heinichen – Missa No.9, Te Deum


Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679 – 1745)
Johann David Heinichen (1683 – 1729)

Missa No.9, Te Deum

Label: Carus, 83.148
Year: 2008


Heike Hallaschka – soprano
Martina Lins-Reuber – soprano
Patrick van Goethem – altus
Marcus Ullman – tenor
Jochen Kupfer – bass

Dresden Chamber Choir
Dresden Baroque Orchestra

Hans-Christoph Rademann – conductor

”Heinichen’s Mass employs especially the capabilities of the brass to achieve a festive majesty in sound. A four-voiced trumpet choir in combination with the double choir layout lend Zelenka’s Te Deum a festive character. Hans-Christoph Rademann brings choir, orchestra and soloists to their highest level of performance.“

It’s easy to see–and hear–why Bach admired the music of Jan Zelenka. How can anyone resist? If you’re wondering what I’m talking about (Zelenka’s music has received inexplicably meager attention until fairly recently), just get this disc and go right to track 10. This concluding section of the Te Deum is as inventive and downright exciting as baroque music gets–infectious, dancing rhythms, soaring soprano lines, ingeniously interwoven contrapuntal lines that seem to bounce off each other, and full-bodied orchestral accompaniment–all of which makes its impact in the space of two minutes. But this is the sort of compelling music that characterizes the work’s entire 28 minutes, varied with an alto solo, duets for two sopranos and for tenor and bass, and full sections for chorus. From the very Bach-like orchestral introduction to the above-mentioned rousing conclusion, this remarkable piece should take a place among the 18th century’s standard repertoire–next to Bach’s own quick-paced, tightly-knit flash of genius, the Magnificat.
In a different vein, Johann Heinichen’s Mass No. 9 in D flows every bit as freely and beautifully and with its own complete command of style and structure. It’s a magnificent, majestic work with powerful, elegantly built choruses and fine solos. The fugal writing is especially notable. And so are the world-class performances by choir and orchestra, whose enthusiasm for this music comes through in every bar. Such dynamic, musically affecting, and technically sound singing and playing doesn’t come easily, and conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann also deserves credit for the commendable results. Particular mention must go to tenor Marcus Ullmann’s rendition of Heinichen’s Qui tollis, a lovely, surprising little gem reminiscent of and equal to Handel’s better efforts.

01. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumTe Deum laudamus 05:38
02. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumTu rex gloriae 02:48
03. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumTu ad liberandum 05:01
04. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumTu ad dexteram Dei sedes 01:31
05. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumJudex crederis 02:20
06. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumAeterna fac 01:47
07. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumIntonatio: Salvum fac 00:33
08. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumEt rege eos 01:43
09. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumPer singulos dies 04:38
10. Jan Dismas Zelenka Te DeumIn te, Domine 02:05
11. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DKyrie eleison 03:18
12. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in Dhriste eleison 02:33
13. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DGloria in excelsis 02:16
14. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DDomine Deus 01:55
15. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DQui tollis 03:36
16. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DQuoniam 01:59
17. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DConcertino 03:50
18. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DCredo 02:29
19. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DCrucifixus 03:31
20. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DEt resurrexit 04:05
21. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DSanctus 02:54
22. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DBenedictus 02:09
23. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DOsanna in excelsis 01:48
24. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DAgnus Dei 02:55
25. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DAgnus Dei 02:28
26. Johann David Heinichen Missa Nr. 9 in DDona nobis pacem 03:20


Cesar Franck – Les Beatitudes Oratorio


Cesar Franck (1822 – 1890)

Les Beatitudes Oratorio (2 CDs)

Label: Brilliant Classics, 99955
Year: 2003


Diana Montague – mezzo soprano
Keith Lewis – tenor
Gilles Cachemaille – bariton
John Cheek – bass
Cornelia Kallisch – alto
Ingeborg Danz – mezzo soprano
Scot Weir – tenor
Juan Vasle – bass
Reinhard Hagen – bass

Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart

Helmuth Rilling – conductor

Les Beatitudes will probably be considered as Franck’s masterpiece. To a man of so profoundly religious as Cesar Franck the subject of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount must have appealed with particular force. The profound humanity, the depth of feeling and the transcendental beauty of the music make it one of the greatest masterpieces of religious music. Excellent performances by a strong cast of soloists, the superb Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart and choral specialist Helmuth Rilling.



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