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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2010

…the new Naxos release is a modest enough investment for getting started. The G-Major Mass from the pen of the 18-year-old composer is one of his loveliest creations, and well worth getting to know.

Richard Wigmore
Gramophone, February 2010

Agreeably straightforward Schubert performances from Leipzig

With its easy, songful charm and pastoral “Benedictus” cast as a round (shades here of the “canon” quartet in Fidelio), the G major has always been the most popular of Schubert’s four early Masses. The rarely heard (outside Austria) C major, D452 - likewise intended for Schubert’s parish church in the Viennese suburb of Lichtental—is less attractive, and in many ways the most retrospective of the four. Sections such as the jolly “Kyrie” and the ingenuous minuet setting of “Dona nobis pacem” could have come straight out of one of Mozart’s less inspired Salzburg Masses. But the 19-year-old Schubert reveals his harmonic adventurousness in the “Gratias – Domine Deus” and the “Er incarnatus est”, while the “Benedictus” is a limpid soprano solo designed for the composer’s first love, Therese Grob. Both these compact Latin Masses are far more appealing than the (to my ears) tedious German Mass of 1827, a sequence of simple congregational hymns in a style somewhere between Ancient & Modern and Schubert’s blandest, most gemütlich part-songs.

Recorded in a slightly swimmy church acoustic, Morten Schuldt-Jensen and his Leipzig forces (orchestra and mixed-voice choir both numbering around 25) give agreeable, straightforward performances…But Schuldt-Jensen’s buoyant tempi and the freshness of the choral response do much to vindicate the rococo auto-bustle of parts of the C major Mass. The assorted soloists, led in both Latin Masses by Claudia Reinhard’s bright, rather fragile soprano, all have light “early music” voices. If the bass sounds strained in the high-lying “Benedictus” of D167, the singers blend well in ensemble, not least in the poignant “Et incarnatus” of the C major Mass.

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, January 2010

Schuldt-Jensen offers an attractive performance of this, too, though his soprano, Claudia Reinhard, sounds less happy in places here than she does in Mass No.2—a small blemish in a more than satisfactory version of the most attractive of the three works on the Naxos disc.

The Naxos recording is good…

If I were looking for recordings of Schubert’s Masses from scratch, then, would I go for the two Naxos recording…

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, November 2009

It was only natural for former choir boy Schubert to compose church music, but like Mozart’s, his seven masses do not constitute the central pillar of his oeuvre—lovely as they are. The musical forces in this (first?) disc of Schubert’s sacred music are very fine, and the music as attractive as could be—especially the folksong-oriented German Mass.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2009

It is debatable as to whether Schubert wrote his Second Mass in an act of reverence or to attract the young soprano soloist with whom he had fallen in love. He was brought up with religious music as an essential ingredient, having served as a choirboy at the age of eight and graduating to the Imperial and Royal Choir until his voice broke. Yet for all the pleasure the music gives, I do find it the work of a competent 19th century kapellmeister that would hardly point to the great composer of song and symphonic music that would emerge. Maybe he had been warned that too much operatic influence had entered the church and was urged to be reverential in his content, and he duly obeyed. Both came from his precocious teenage years, and at the other end of his too short life, the Deutsche Mass was to a commission to write a series of hymns for congregational use at Mass, a task he faithfully fulfilled. The performances are dedicated and feature the sweet-toned voice of Claudia Reinard in the part of Schubert’s early sweetheart. The Leipzig Chamber Orchestra, mainly drawn from the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus, perform on ‘modern’ instruments, their playing excellent throughout with the brass and timpani nicely blended, while the highly experienced Danish conductor, Morten Schuldt-Jensen, directs unfussy performances that move at an admirable pace.

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