Boston Baroque - Haydn: Lord Nelson Mass - The Arts Desk
In a week bristling with geo-political tension, we need Haydn's "Mass for Troubled
Times" more than ever. Here, Boston Baroque's natural trumpets blast out
their tattoo in the Kyrie with a punch matched by that of the
choir. Such a magnificent opening - the boldness due in part to Prince
Esterházy's economically-driven downsizing of Haydn's orchestral forces.
Woodwinds and horns had been dismissed, and trumpets and timpani were used
instead to supplement the ripieno strings. Martin Pearlman's swift speeds are
perfectly judged, and this performance ticks all the right boxes. Sample the
moment a minute into into Haydn's Gloria
in excelsis Deo, when the solo quartet step aside to let Pearlman's
massed choral forces ring out. It's as rousing as anything in Mahler 8.
Pearlman's excellent soloists work hard, and he captures the mood changes as
well as anyone.
We get the Symphony no 102 as a welcome bonus. Pearlman's full-blooded approach works well, though the resonant acoustic can make for oppressive listening in the louder tuttis. Muted brass in Haydn's Adagio add their colour, and the Presto finale zips along, almost derailling to comic effect in the final 30 seconds. Two masterpieces on a well-produced disc - brilliant music, performed with style.