Haydn, RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Fur Alte Musik, Berlin, Justin Doyle - Missa Cellensis

Published Thursday 28th November 2019
Haydn, RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Fur Alte Musik, Berlin, Justin Doyle - Missa Cellensis
Haydn, RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Fur Alte Musik, Berlin, Justin Doyle  - Missa Cellensis

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMM902300

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was certainly one of the most prolific composers ever and arguably the greatest of his generation. Like many of the greats - Bach comes to mind here - not only was the quantity he produced astonishing but so too was the quality so the beginner can safely start almost anywhere and soon begin to appreciate musical greatness. However, listeners who are new to Haydn's choral music would find this particular Mass a good place to start as it is both comprehensive - a full service of more than one hour of music that never fails to grip our attention - and yet immediately accessible. Bernard Schrammek in his illuminating CD booklet notes suggests that the 'Missa Cellensis in Honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae' to give its full title or "Hob. XXII:5" if you want its classification number, is an expansion of an early setting made in honour of or perhaps even in gratitude to the pilgrimage site of Mariazell. It appears that Haydn started work on this 'Mass for Mariazell in Honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary' to translate its title not long after his promotion to the coveted position of Kapellmeister at the court of Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy in 1766. Haydn took an earlier and much briefer composition and expanded it to include all the elements of a full Mass from the opening "Kyrie Eleison" to the concluding "Dona Nobis Pacem". So if ever you want to hear a full blown Mass that nevertheless does not outstay its welcome, this is an excellent choice. This is not the first recording of Haydn's 'Missa Cellensis' that has come my way and I initially planned just to dip in to check the quality of the performance but quickly found myself hooked. It is cliché but for this listener it is true: I could not believe that a whole hour had gone by when we reached the end. For the record the RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie fur Alte Musik, Berlin and the four soloists all ably directed by Justin Doyle give full value and whether you are a seasoned collector of Joseph Haydn or a newcomer ready to go deeper this is a recommended purchase.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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