Donna Brown, Sally Bruce-Payne, Peter Butterfield, Gerald Finley, The Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner
More than any recordings of these works that I have heard, John Eliot Gardiner's convey their wide emotional range, flair for drama, and transparent choral textures. Emotional contrasts from one point to another, even within a larger section, are always sharply drawn. A closing "Dona Nobis Pacem" is not mere a plea for peace; rather it becomes an expression of the joy to be had in its attainment. Time and again Gardiner reminds us of Haydn's extraordinary imagination, one that can take the Latin Mass yet approach it freshly with each succeeding effort.
Record Review /
Mortimer H. Frank,
Fanfare (Tenafly, NJ) / 01. March 2011
John Eliot Gardiner's keen sense of dynamism comes in useful in [the Nelson Mass's "Benedictus"], a unique moment in 18th-century music . . . [where] the menacing and the martial meet in one unforgettably imposing gesture. In the other sections, too, Gardiner is on his most observant form -- his pin-sharp Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists are equally focused, the choir displaying the vitality of Haydn's muscular counterpoint and the English Baroque Soloists the characterful colour of his imaginative instrumental writing. Gerald Finley makes a true highlight of the bass solo "Qui tollis", while Donna Brown seizes all of the many opportunities allotted to the soprano soloist. Both mezzo-soprano Sally Bruce-Payne and tenor Peter Butterfield are excellent, while Gardiner shows an unerring sense of how to pick tempos that maximise the music's power and effect. All in all, it's a performance that shows the range and imagination of Haydn's setting at its grandest and most spirited.
Record Review /
BBC Music Magazine (London) / 01. December 2014
Mass in B Flat - 'Theresienmesse', Hob.XXII:12 - Sanctus