A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 12/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MASS K317 (CORONATION), MASS K427, AND MISSA SOLEMNIS ALONG WITH SEVERAL OTHER MASSES ARE ALSO PART OF THE 'MOZART BOX MASSES' WITH PETER NEUMANN AVAILABLE AT AMAZON. If you are an avid Mozart fan, you may get much more for your money by buying the 'Box Set'.
In these Masses Mozart kept the traditional plan in six sections (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei) even when the impression is that the sections are more numerous. One of the difficulties with Mozart's mature output is the paucity of mass settings. He left the Archbishop of Salzburg just as his style had reached maturity. But the Archbishop,had firm views on the length of services, so that neither Mozart's two final Salzburg pieces - the Coronation Mass, and the Missa Solemnis- is expansive. Of his two mass settings written after that period, he left the Mass in C minor as a magnificent torso and he died before he could complete the Requiem Mass.
The Coronation Mass, K317, was written in 1779, and though brief, is quite grandiose. It is scored for strings (minus violas and cellos), with oboes, horns, trumpets, trombones and timpani. In this work Mozart frequently uses the quartet of soloists to contrast with the Chorus. The music is also notable for the lovely soprano solo 'Agnus Dei', which is probably a foreshadowing of the Countess's aria 'Dove Sono' from the Marriage of Figaro. The very capable quartet with this mass is: Patricia Kwella(soprano), Ulia Groenewold(contralto), Christopher Pregardian (tenor) and Franz-Joseph Selig (bass).
The Missa Solemnis, K337, was written in 1780, and again it is short, in fact, slightly shorter than the Coronation Mass, as required by the Archbishop of Salzberg (not fond of him). Again there is a foreshadowing of the Marriage of Figaro's soprano solo 'Porgi Amor' in the Agnus Dei. The Quartet of soloists is the same as in the Coronation Mass. Wonderful singing from all of them, but especially Kwella, who has the advantage of singing the two beautiful soprano solos mentioned above. Pregardian is also outstanding as he sings with an admirably clear and focused voice.
Certainly the final, unfinished 'Grosse Masse' in C minor, K427, (in fact only the end of the Credo and the Agnus Dei/Dona Nobis Pacem are missing) was composed in Vienna in 1782-83, but it was intended for performance in Salzburg: a 'votive' work, it was in Mozart's luggage on the journey to Salzburg to acquaint his family with Constanze, whom he had married against the wishes of his father Leopold. The work was first performed, incomplete (and then completed with several borrowings) not at the cathedral, which held cruel memories for Mozart, but in the Abbey Church at St. Peter, where Constanze took the first soprano part. The quartet of singers for this work are: Barbara Schlick (soprano)I love her voice; it has such resonance and refinement, Monika Frimmer (soprano), Christopher Pregardien (tenor) and Klaus Mertens (bass). Fine singers all!!!!
The Kolner Kammerchor provide excellent, well-shaped singing and Neumann provides some highly dramatic effects, especially in the 'Benedictus' sung as a choral fugue in K337. He also provides some fierce conducting in K317 at the 'Benedictus'. The Collegium Cartusianum plays well for Neumann which reflects their very thorough training. Neumann is very skilled at bringing the instrumental accompaniment and the choruses into perfect balance.
I own the 'Mozart Box Masses' and I can't find fault with any of them. In fact Neumann's delivery of the Mozart Requiem is the best that I have ever heard, with a superior quartet of four soloists. Liner notes are 'skimpy' and do not include the text; no problem for me."
Singrae | USA | 08/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I meant to give this recording 2 stars not 3, but am unable to change the rating.
There were glitches in the recording. There were gaps and missing notes. I know, I had the musical score. I was Not happy about that. I bought the download and it recorded very quiet. I had to turn the volume up much too high to hear it. The download did not record at a normal volume, then the next CD in the changer would blast me when it started playing.