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Geraint Lewis
Gramophone, April 2014

Jane Glover brings a welcome burst of energy and exuberance to polished performers well versed in this music. Here is a version fuelled by an awareness of the music’s liturgical origins and that belies any sense of ‘bargain’ or budget status. Every Haydn-lover should own this joyful account. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert Hugill
MusicWeb International, October 2011

On this delightful new disc Haydn’s first and last masses, Naxos further their relationship with Trinity Choir…Under their conductor, James Owen Burdick, Trinity Choir gives a charming and infectious account. Burdick’s speeds are perhaps on the steady side, but things never plod and soloists, chorus and orchestra deliver crisp, nicely articulated music.

HarmonieMess…is a charming delight. It is difficult to believe that this life-affirming music was written with such difficulty by a tired man.

Glover seems to bring something extra to the performance, inspiring such joyous and infectious music-making from choir and orchestra. Though speeds never feel rushed, there is a liveliness and rhythmic delight in these performances missing from the Missa Brevis.

As with the Missa Brevis, Haydn uses his soloists rather akin to a semi-chorus. Trinity’s soloists are a young-sounding clear-voiced bunch who blend nicely with the choir and sound appealing on their own.

In both masses the choir make a fine, clear sound. They use female altos and sopranos and but with a clarity and fine texture which adds a suitable sophistication to the music.

The Rebel Baroque Orchestra accompanies both masses in an infectiously crisp fashion.

A fine disc particularly the wonderfully joyous account of the HarmonieMesse from Jane Glover. I certainly hope that she and Trinity Choir will be giving us more Haydn masses.




Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, February 2011

Although it is for his instrumental music, primarily symphonies, string quartets and works for solo piano that Josef Haydn is most known, he was quite given to writing for voices and left behind a sizeable output of operas, twelve authenticated masses and numerous other settings of sacred texts for choir, soloists and orchestra. This program gives us his first and last words in the mass genre, one by an exuberant boy of seventeen the other by a tired and weary old man, although one could never discern the composer’s fatigue by listening to the music.

The Missa Brevis in F is a little gem of economy, with Haydn sailing through the wordy Credo in under three minutes, a feat he accomplished by stacking phrases of the text on top of one another and distributing them throughout the voice parts. The unusual scoring for only two solo voices, both sopranos might have been a vehicle for he and his brother Michael, though it does stretch belief a bit to think of a seventeen year old with an unchanged voice.

The Harmoniemesse is one of Haydn’s final works, written for the birthday celebrations of the Esterhazy Princess in 1802. The composer soon took his leave of the Esterhazy family after decades of service and although he lived another seven years, he did little composing after this period. There is no evidence in this joyful and exuberant mass that Haydn was at all ill. In fact, his later masses have been criticized over the years for their joyous optimism, and sometimes overly upbeat settings of the more reflective and serious parts of the texts. Be that as it may, this is a masterpiece, beautifully augmented by the full complement of wind instruments that give the mass its nickname of “harmonie.”

These are performances of divinely understated elegance. Singing from the choir is dead in tune and beautifully balanced. Phrases are splendidly shaped and tempo choices are spot on. The Trinity Choir is full of fine soloists, and there is some magnificent singing from sopranos Ann Hoyt and Julie Liston is the Missa Brevis. The Rebel Baroque Orchestra is a tight band of precision players. The clarity of their playing, especially in fast passages is without flaw. The one and only defect in this production is the lack of texts and translations in the booklet. The program notes are informative and interesting and not loaded with blow by blow descriptions of the music.

These are performances of almost text-book perfection and will be a delight to any lover of choral music. With really nothing to criticize, I can say nothing more but go add this fine recording to your library.



James Manheim
Allmusic.com, February 2011

These recordings are drawn from the complete Haydn mass cycle released by New York’s Trinity Choir and the Rebel Baroque Orchestra (the latter named for French Baroque composer Jean-Féry Rebel, not for the Confederate States of America). The pairing has gained acclaim for small-group, historical-instrument performances of Baroque and Classical-era works intended to meet those by European ensembles on their own ground. The two masses were recorded several years apart, with different conductors and soloists, but the pairing must have proved irresistible to Naxos compilers for a single disc: the Missa Brevis, Hob. 22/1, of 1749 or 1750 is Haydn’s first definitely attributable work aside from student exercises, while the Mass in B flat major, Hob. 22/14, “Harmoniemesse,” would be his last. He later completed two movements of the String Quartet, Op. 103, and then called it quits. The scope of the creative career framed by these two works carries a kind of fascination in itself, and the Missa Brevis, of which Haydn himself spoke fondly in later life, is not recorded so often. Haydn was no child prodigy like Mozart, but his originality shows through at several places in this sunny, mostly simple work. Consider the curiously wandering, mysterious quality of the Incarnatus and Crucifixus sections, so unlike anything else Haydn might have been hearing at the time. The “Harmoniemesse,” or Wind Band Mass, was written for a full complement of winds and brasses, and it is a large piece that gives no hint of its composer’s growing exhaustion. The martial conception of the Dona nobis pacem, very much reflective of a Europe in the grip of global war, is but one of many masterstrokes, and conductor Jane Glover forges a crisp choral sound, supported by fine soloists (alto Kirsten Sollek is a standout), that cuts through the brass-heavy orchestral sound. The forces, in fact, sound quite different under Glover and project founder J. Owen Burdick, although it is not clear how much this is due to the sheer diversity of the two works involved. At any rate, for those not investing in the entire set, this is a historically oriented American Haydn recording that can stand with European examples. Trinity Church is underrated as a recording venue; it is spacious and sonorous, but sound does not get lost there. The booklet is in English and German.



Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, February 2011

Bargain of the Month

Although it is for his instrumental music, primarily symphonies, string quartets and works for solo piano that Josef Haydn is most known, he was quite given to writing for voices and left behind a sizeable output of operas, twelve authenticated masses and numerous other settings of sacred texts for choir, soloists and orchestra. This program gives us his first and last words in the mass genre, one by an exuberant boy of seventeen the other by a tired and weary old man, although one could never discern the composer’s fatigue by listening to the music.

The Missa Brevis in F is a little gem of economy, with Haydn sailing through the wordy Credo in under three minutes, a feat he accomplished by stacking phrases of the text on top of one another and distributing them throughout the voice parts. The unusual scoring for only two solo voices, both sopranos might have been a vehicle for he and his brother Michael, though it does stretch belief a bit to think of a seventeen year old with an unchanged voice.

The Harmoniemesse is one of Haydn’s final works, written for the birthday celebrations of the Esterhazy Princess in 1802. The composer soon took his leave of the Esterhazy family after decades of service and although he lived another seven years, he did little composing after this period. There is no evidence in this joyful and exuberant mass that Haydn was at all ill. In fact, his later masses have been criticized over the years for their joyous optimism, and sometimes overly upbeat settings of the more reflective and serious parts of the texts. Be that as it may, this is a masterpiece, beautifully augmented by the full complement of wind instruments that give the mass its nickname of “harmonie.”

These are performances of divinely understated elegance. Singing from the choir is dead in tune and beautifully balanced. Phrases are splendidly shaped and tempo choices are spot on. The Trinity Choir is full of fine soloists, and there is some magnificent singing from sopranos Ann Hoyt and Julie Liston is the Missa Brevis. The Rebel Baroque Orchestra is a tight band of precision players. The clarity of their playing, especially in fast passages is without flaw. The one and only defect in this production is the lack of texts and translations in the booklet. The program notes are informative and interesting and not loaded with blow by blow descriptions of the music.

These are performances of almost text-book perfection and will be a delight to any lover of choral music. With really nothing to criticize, I can say nothing more but go add this fine recording to your library.






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8:43:38 PM, 20 August 2014
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