Related Reviews
Fanfare
'From the very first timpani stroke on the downbeat of bar one, I sensed this was going to be a really outstanding performance. But "outstanding" doesn't begin to capture how different and special it is.'
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Fanfare
'This "Nelson" Mass is another superb achievement...Most importantly, Pearlman breathes life into every phrase througout the Symphony and the Mass.'
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Fono Forum
4 Stars
,,Dazu führt er seine an der historisierenden Aufführungspraxis orientierten Ensembles mit hohem Tempo und erfrischender Agilität durch die Partitur.''
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Klassik
4 Stars
,,Klangwuchtig und mit einer beachtenswerten Fülle musikalischer Kontraste präsentiert sich die neue Veröffentlichung des renommierten...das stimmige, transparente Gesamtbild sind bei der sehr lobenswert. Mit opulenten Stimmen fügen sich die Solisten gut in das vorwärtsstrebende Gesamtgefüge aus Chor und Orchester ein.''
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Boston Globe
'Pearlman’s soloists — soprano Mary Wilson, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, tenor Keith Jameson, and bass-baritone Kevin Deas — are an appropriately anguished quartet, and the performance as a whole is a fervent one…'
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The Arts Desk
‘Two masterpieces on a well-produced disc - brilliant music, performed with style.’
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Choir & Organ
4 Stars
‘…a vigorously lively performance…under the exacting leadership of Martin Pearlman.’
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Audiophilia
Recommended New Release: 'The performance of both works has the sprightliness, transparency and precision of line that typically result when baroque specialists play classical-era repertoire; I also love the recording, which adds a touch of warmth…’
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Chorzeit
4 Stars
‘…präsentieren nun Chor und Orchester von Boston Baroque das eigenwillige Werk und machen erneut unmissverständlich klar, dass es für diese Literatur keine Alternative zu alten Instrumenten gibt…’
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The Whole Note
‘Boston Baroque certainly captures the character of those times, deftly alternating huge dynamic ranges that switch from jubilant and boisterous celebration to reflective and prayerful gratitude.’
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International Record Review
'...superbly rendered...vibrant, idiomatic and fluent...'
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Crescendo
‘…ce disque est principalement dominé par une bonne humeur indétrônable. En effet, la jovialité sonore s’entend très distinctement comme elle se devine chez les musiciens heureux à leur instrument.’
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Audiophile Audition
5 Stars
'...a wonderful release...can't be recommended highly enough.'
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New York Times
'...rhythmic verve and intensity. A fine quartet of soloists...'
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BBC Music Magazine
'...a vigorous, well paced reading of Haydn's fieriest Mass...'
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Infodad.com
'...how lively and alive that rediscovery has been - and with how much power and wonder...'
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AllMusic.com
‘...precise work on historical instruments, and for clean, bright approach free from mannerism.’
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News Observer
'An engaging Haydn... a vivid, incisive account of this uplifting music.'
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The Obersver
'a unique setting, freshly captured...'
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The Sunday Times
'The orchestra, in both the Mass and the symphony, play with a justified delight in this life-affirming music.'
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Words and Music
Disc of the Day: ‘The disc makes an impact, with its comforting mass and cheerful symphony.’
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Musical Toronto
'A boisterous Haydn Lord Nelson Mass from Boston Baroque...a sparkling performance.'
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Classics Today
'...the big moments in the Gloria and Credo come off so effectively.'
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Boston Baroque - Haydn: Lord Nelson Mass - Fanfare


01 June 2014
Fanfare
Lynn Rene Bayley

This is one of those weird coincidences that occasionally strike professional critics. I had not asked for this recording on the Linn label, but rather for another disc (Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ) but somehow received this one instead. My editor instructed me to review it only if positive. Since I had remembered having a good impression of Martin Pearlman's Boston Baroque in the past, I thought I had a good chance of enjoying the performance, even though (to be perfectly honest) I had never heard this specific Haydn work before. So I put the CD on.

WOWZA!

This performance is so good that it instantly peels back the dust and crud that may have surrounded this work and immediately places it on the high end of Haydn's output. Originally titled Mass in a Time of Anxiety – a title that in many ways suits this work better, since it is uplifting and cheerful – it somehow became associated with British Admiral Horatio Nelson. The music skims and sings its merry way through one's mind while listening; despite its liturgical text, the upbeat feel of the music and its wonderfully changing harmonies and moods make it sound more like a secular oratorio. And what a wonderful quartet of singers Pearlman has assembled here! It starts with soprano Mary Wilson, whose beautiful and flexible voice leaps and skips through the Kyrie, and goes all the way down to rich-voiced basso Kevin Deas, who dominates the Qui tollus peccata mundi. (The booklet informs us that this miraculous singer is "most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess." *Sigh*, I'm so sick and tired of seeing this. Have a major African-American bass or baritone emerge, and heaven forbid you start hiring them in major operatic roles. Just let them keep on singing Porgy.) Mezzo Fischer and tenor Jameson are heard to their best advantage in Et incarnates est. And of course, that chorus is spot-on; and everyone has clear diction. Hallelujah!

It is when one reaches the Symphony No. 102 that you suddenly realize that Pearlman's string section is adhering like Crazy Glue to the immutable doctrine of Straight Tone, but again his performance is so effervescent and lively that one doesn't mind so much. There are too many little touches in the way he conducts this music where the orchestra dips and glides joyously for me to enumerate them, but believe me, they are there.

Stylistically, these are fairly straightforward readings. Pearlman doesn't employ the slightly asymmetrical rubato style that I generally like in Haydn, but neither does the performance sound the least bit hard driven. Everything has a wonderful flow and energy, and he never sounds as if he is pile-driving the music, yet the incessantjoie de vivre of this performance is bubbly and infectious. And oh yes, the SACD sound is clear and natural. This one is clearly a winner.     


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