Weber: Mass in G (Jubelmesse); Mass in E flat (Freischützmesse)

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Weber
LABELS: Schwann
WORKS: Mass in G (Jubelmesse); Mass in E flat (Freischützmesse)
PERFORMER: Soloists, Gisela Schindler (organ); Stuttgart Philharmonia & Vocal Ensemble/Roland Bader, Choir & Orchestra of St Michael, Munich/Ernst Ehret
CATALOGUE NO: 3-1637-2 ADD 1968/63
A conundrum: of Weber’s two mature 1818 masses, the solemn Freischützmesse actually sounds – apart from a gorgeous cello-led Benedictus – less like the opera than the buoyant Jubelmesse.

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Thumbs down to this worthy but muddyish Koch recording. Happily, EMI has just reissued the fine Horst Stein Freischützmesse on a double-disc recoupling (CMS 5 65842 2), and a radiant Stuttgart Jubelmesse (CMS 5 66329 2).

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Roland Bader’s Jubelmesse feels lugubrious, while in Ehret’s Offertorium-shorn 1963 Freischützmesse, a cheeping bird soon steals the show. Buy it for the bird, the enchanting Caroline Bardun sleeve-portrait, and alto Emmy Lisken’s Agnus Dei. Someone like ASV should have another go at these. Roderic Dunnett