Boston Baroque - Haydn: Lord Nelson Mass - Musical Toronto
10 November 2013Musical Toronto
Not as popular as The Creation
, Joseph Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass - real title: Missa in angustiis
(Mass of a Time of Anxiety) is no less thrilling, especially when presented with the verve of Boston Baroque under artistic director Martin Pearlman.
It's safe to say that we're on the cusp of a new golden age of recording, thanks to the dozens of in-house labels that are sprouting up everywhere, giving local performers a fighting chance for the ears of fans normally lured by big-label releases. And this is a fine example of the phenomenon.
Although not perfect (thanks to an occasionally ragged choir), the Bostoners' interpretation of this Haydn mass is full of fire as well as subtlety. The music is alive, as in a live performance, rather than clinically perfected in an editing booth.
Pearlman chose Haydn's original orchestral and vocal scores, which are a bit different from the one most people who know this piece are familiar with. The biggest difference is having an organ amidst the instruments, and not having any woodwinds (there was some cost-cutting at the Esterhazy household in the day, and the prince had let all of the woodwind players go, leaving Haydn with strings and brass).
Because we're hearing period instruments here, the balance between brass and strings works nicely. The bursts of brass throughout underline nicely the don't-worry-be-happy side of this music.
Included on the disc is a sparkling performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 102 - the real 'Miracle' symphony, premiered in London by Haydn in 1794.
Related LinksBoston BaroqueHaydn: Lord Nelson Mass