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Schubert Masses Recorded for Naxos

September 16, 2009

Following the successful release of their recording of Schubert’s Mass No 6 in E flat major and Stabat Mater (Naxos 8.570381), which was acclaimed by David Denton ‘The highly experienced Danish conductor, Morten Schuldt-Jensen, directs unfussy performances that move at an admirable pace. The sound quality is excellent’, the Immortal-Bach-Ensemble and Leipzig Chamber Orchestra conducted by Morten Schuldt-Jensen continue their survey of Schubert’s Masses.

From 10 to 13 August 2009, Trine Wilsberg Lund (soprano), Bettina Ranch (alto), Min Woo Lim (tenor) and Dominik Königer (bass) joined the choir and orchestra at Paul Gerhardt-Kirche in Leipzig, Germany to record Schubert’s Mass in A-flat major and Magnificat. (To be released on Naxos 8.572114)

From 13 to 15 August 2009, Trine Wilsberg Lund (soprano), Dorothea Craxton (soprano 2), Bettina Ranch (alto), Min Woo Lim (tenor), Andreas Karasiak (tenor 2) and Assaf Levitin (bass) were the soloists in the recording of Schubert’s Masses in F major and in Bb major in the same venue. (To be released on Naxos 8.572279)

Dorothea Craxton writes that ‘We worked very concentratedly but also had lots of joy since the atmosphere was great.  Everybody was prepared to give his/her very, very best and I’m sure that we will be very content with the results.  Schubert’s music for the Mass in A-flat, of course, is very well known, but the other two Masses in B and F are not. It is most beautiful music. Here are some session photos taken by Technical Assistant Martin Linde.’

While not infrequently performed, Schubert’s Masses (he wrote half a dozen of them) range from relatively simple to quite extraordinary affairs. Raised as a Catholic and educated at the Imperial Chapel’s choir school, now home of the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir, Schubert was intimately familiar with the Catholic liturgy. His omission of certain passages of the Mass text—for instance those relating to belief in ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic church’ and (in all but his first Mass setting) to ‘the resurrection of the dead’—has led commentators to speculate about the nature of Schubert’s personal faith. Others suggest that such textual omissions may not be as unusual as one may think.

Whatever the case, Schubert spared no effort to provide music of splendour, joy and intimate beauty, heightened by some extraordinarily experimental (and stunningly effective) harmonies for his Masses. Indeed, Schubert’s innovative approach was much admired (and imitated) by Bruckner in his own sacred and symphonic music, and retains its ability to move and amaze listeners to this day.

Schubert’ Masses in G and C, and the German Mass performed by the same artists will be released on Naxos 8.570764 in November 2009.

Immortal-Bach-Ensemble Biography & Discography
Leipziger Kammerorchester Biography & Discography
Morten Schuldt-Jensen Biography & Discography

Franz Schubert Biography & Discography

Naxos’s acclaimed Schubert Lied Edition is also nearing its conclusion.
See the volumes released to date.


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