Haydn: Missa in tempore belli; Salve regina, Hob XXIIIb:2; O coelitum beati, Hob XXIIIa:G9

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COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Missa in tempore belli; Salve regina, Hob XXIIIb:2; O coelitum beati, Hob XXIIIa:G9
PERFORMER: Ann Monoyios (soprano), Monica Groop (alto), Jörg Hering (tenor), Harry van der Kamp (bass); Tölz Boys Choir, Tafelmusik/Bruno Weil
CATALOGUE NO: SK 68255
This is the third disc of Haydn’s sacred music from Bruno Weil and his team. An inspired feature of the series has been its coupling of the grander Masses with a variety of little-known gems. Last year’s Heiligmesse recording also included the thrilling motet ‘Insanae et vanae curae’; this new CD pairs spirited, sensitive versions of the 1796 Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War) and the 1771 Salve regina with a beautiful early motet, ‘O coelitum beati’, its exquisitely tender soprano aria recalling the lovely Ave regina from the first disc of the series.

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The Missa in tempore belli (nicknamed ‘Paukenmesse’) was the second of the six late Masses that are among the crowning glories of Haydn’s career. Its title refers to Austria’s calamitous war with Napoleon and a sense of dread pervades the music: in the hushed gravity of the Gloria and Credo Adagios, in the anxious tread of the Benedictus, most of all in the famous Agnus Dei, with its chilling kettle-drum solos and blazing martial climax.

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This is magnificent music, magnificently played. Graham Lock