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Haydn: Missa Cellensis, Missa sunt bona mixta malis / Hickox

Album Summary

>Haydn, Franz Joseph : Missa Cellensis, for soloists, chorus, organ & orchestra in C major ("Cantata Mass"), H. 22/5
>Haydn, Franz Joseph : Missa Sunt Bona Mixta Malis, for chorus & organ in D minor, H. 22/2
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"...[The "Missa Cellensis"] is pervaded by the brilliant C major sonority of trumpets and timpani, served up with the young Haydn's typical confidence and verve. Some of the most memorable movements, though, are ones that set off the prevailing red and gold splendour: the austerely beautiful 'Gratias', for instance, or the C minor Benedictus. Richard Hickox is a compelling advocate of this repertoire... his expert mixed choir and period orchestra are in top form..." ***** -BBC Music

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is the only current recording of the fragmentary Missa sunt bona mixta malis, consisting only of a brief setting of the Kyrie followed by a more expansive setting of the Gloria, which is cut off after the 'Gratias agimus tibi'. Improbably, the score was discovered as recently as 1983 in a farmhouse in the north of Ireland. Dating from 1768, it's tantalising having only a fragment when the contrapuntal writing presents Haydn at his most striking in this period. It makes a fascinating supplement to Hickox's superb account of the longest setting of the liturgy that Haydn ever composed.

The title of the Missa cellensis - referring to the small Austrian town of Mariazell - is misleading in two ways. It's obviously so when there's another, later Mass also entitled Cellensis, but equally because it seems highly unlikely that so ambitious a work as this was ever designed for such a place as Mariazell: it was more probably written for a grand occasion in Vienna. So it would surely be less confusing to return to the usual title for this work, 'St Cecilia Mass'.

This is a 'cantata-mass' very different from Haydn's usual settings which involve a single movement for each of the six sections of the liturgy.

Here instead, the liturgy is divided into 18 separate movements. Hickox's new version gains over the fine Preston issue from the late 1970s in weight and warmth of expression, helped by the Chandos recording which, while warm, allows ample detail in the many splendid contrapuntal passages. The choir's sopranos are amply bright and boyish and achieve a crisp ensemble. The soloists make an outstanding, responsive team.



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Works Details

>Haydn, Franz Joseph : Missa Cellensis, for soloists, chorus, organ & orchestra in C major ("Cantata Mass"), H. 22/5
  • Performers: Susan Gritton (Soprano); Mark Padmore; Pamela Stephen (Mezzo Soprano); Stephen Varcoe
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Collegium Musicum 90
  • Notes: Blackheath Halls (07/18/2000-07/20/2000)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1766

>Haydn, Franz Joseph : Missa Sunt Bona Mixta Malis, for chorus & organ in D minor, H. 22/2
  • Performers: Susan Gritton (Soprano); Mark Padmore; Pamela Stephen (Mezzo Soprano); Stephen Varcoe
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Collegium Musicum 90
  • Notes: Blackheath Halls (07/18/2000-07/20/2000)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1768