Schubert/Schumann: Mass in G; Tantum ergo; Psalm 23

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COMPOSERS: Schubert/Schumann
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Mass in G; Tantum ergo; Psalm 23
PERFORMER: Barbara Bonney, Brigitte Poschner, Dalia Schaechter, Margareta Hintermeier, Jorge Antonio Pita, Andreas SchmidtThe Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 435 486-2 DDD
Schubert was just 18 when he wrote his G major Mass. It is a charmingly unpretentious work, with a Benedictus brazenly lifted from Beethoven’s Fidelia, which had been performed in Vienna the previous year. The original scoring is for organ and strings only, though trumpet and timpani parts for the Gloria and Sanctus discovered in an Austrian monastery (and included here) may be authentic.

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Schubert’s Tantum ergo is a piece of almost erotically charged mysticism, composed just before his death, while the setting of Psalm 23, written for women’s voices with piano, is recorded in somewhat sentimental orchestration.

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Schumann’s Requiem für Mignon takes the form of a dialogue between four grief-stricken boys who have deposited the body of Mignon (a character from Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre) on the sarcophagus, and a choir of departed spirits. An unusually rewarding disc, only some tentative choral singing prevents an outright recommendation. Misha Donat