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Hickox: Haydn – Creation Mass (FLAC)

Hickox: Haydn - Creation Mass (FLAC)
Hickox: Haydn – Creation Mass (FLAC)

Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer: Susan Gritton, Mark Padmore, Stephen Varcoe, Pamela Helen Stephen
Orchestra: Collegium Musicum 90
Conductor: Richard Hickox
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Chandos
Catalogue: CHAN0599
Release: 1996
Size: 277 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Mass, Hob. XXII:13 in B flat major ‘Schöpfungmesse’
01. Kyrie
02. Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo
03. Gloria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus
04. Credo: Credo in unum Deum
05. Credo: Et incarnatus est
06. Gloria: Et resurrexit
07. Credo: Et vitam venturi saeculi
08. Sanctus
09. Benedictus
10. Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei
11. Agnus Dei: Dona nobis pacem

Mass, Hob. XXII: 3 in G major ‘Missa rorate coeli desuper’
12. Kyrie
13. Gloria
14. Credo
15. Sanctus
16. Benedictus
17. Agnus Dei

Mass No. 13 in B flat major, Hob.XXII:13, “Schopfungsmesse” (Creation Mass)
18. Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo
19. Gloria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus

The Creation Mass is no less resplendent or searching than, say, the Nelson Mass or the Harmoniemesse, a glorious affirmation of Haydn’s reverent, optimistic yet by no means naive faith.

Even by Haydn’s standards, the work is startling in its exploitation of colourful and dramatic key contrasts, as in the sudden swerve from F major to an apocalyptic fortissimo D flat at ‘Judicare vivos’; the Benedictus, characteristically, moves from serene pastoral innocence (shades of ‘With verdure clad’ from The Creation) to urgent intensity in its central development; and the sublime G major Agnus Dei has a profound supplicatory fervour extraordinary even among the composer’s many memorable settings of this text.

This reading eclipses previous recordings in the quality of its choir and soloists, the subtlety of Hickox’s direction and the vividness and transparency of the recorded sound. In faster movements like the Kyrie and the openings of the Gloria and Credo Hickox strikes just the right balance between dignity and happy, pulsing energy, relishing each of Haydn’s dramatic coups; and he brings a marvellous clarity and verve, and a sure sense of climax, to the chromatically inflected fugues in the Gloria and at ‘Dona nobis pacem’. Abetted by his first-rate orchestra, Hickox is always alive to the felicities of Haydn’s scoring, while the 24-strong professional choir is superbly responsive throughout.

We also get the alternative version of the Gloria, and the ultra-compressed (6’49”) and instantly forgettable Missa rorate coeli desuper, which David Wyn Jones, in his excellent note, wryly describes as ‘a reminder of how perfunctory church music in 18th-century Austria could be’. It’s neatly dispatched by Hickox and his forces, but inevitably comes as an anticlimax.

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