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Helmut Rilling conducts Romantic Choral Music

Schubert, Mass in Ab; »Lazarus«: Mendelssohn, Psalm 42: Dvorak, Stabat mater: Brahms, Song of Fate, Naenia,Song of the Parcae, A German Requiem: Bruckner, Mass F Minor, Psalm 150, Mass E Minor: Liszt, Stabat mater: Puccini, Motetto: Franck, Les Beatitudes: Verdi, »Libera me«

Gabriela Beiiackova-Cap, Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Donna Brown, Pamela Coburn, Diane Montague, Simone Nold, Camilla Nylund, Sibylla Rubens, Verena Schweizer, Marina Shaguch - soprano
Ingeborg Danz, Elisabeth Glauser, Monica Groop, Cornelia Kallisch, Iris Vermillion - alto
Kurt Azesberger, Christoph Genz, Uwe Heilmann, Keith Lewis, Michael Schad James Taylor, Scot Weir - tenore
Gilles Cachemaille, Matthias Goerne, Reinhard Hagen, Thomas Mehnert, Thomas Quastoff, Andreas Schmidt, Juan Vasle, Michael Volle - basso

Gachinger Kantorei, Oregon Bach Festival Choir, Philharmonischer Chor PragBach-Collegium Stuttgart, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra Radio -Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR

Haenssler Classic 2003 98.460 [Recordings:1995/1997]

A bounty box of 8 CDs in celebration of Helmut Rilling's 70th birthday, beginning 'a Year-Long commemoration of the master´s craft'. He was the first to record all of J.S. Bachs major choral works, and this specially priced box set which caught my attention has some of Rilling´s discoveries - including the criticallyacclaimed "Christus" of Franz Liszt, Edison Denisov´s provocative completion of Schubert´s very substantial but incomplete "Lazarus", Masses of Schubert and two by Bruckner, Brahm´s German Requiem and many more.

I have sampled Lazarus and Schubert's Mass in Ab and have been captivated by this music I knew not. Excellent performances with numerous soloists, only a few really well known names, but high standards throughout and some lovely voices. Mostly done in Stuttgart with his regular forces, it is a treasure trove, marred only by the paucity of solid information and lack of texts or translations.

The story of Lazarus, abandoned by Schubert before his ressurection, is strange and I refer you to MusicWeb's review of the Brilliant Classics release on 2 CDs of the (presumably same) performance, which includes Denisov's 3rd Act, omitted by Haenssler.

For those who are prepared to listen to the works they don't know, such as Lazarus, Brahms Song of the Parcae and Franck's Les Beatitudes just as music, don't hesitate to acquire this useful assemblage of recordings from the last decade. But the interesting article by Dr A Bomba puts an emphasis on how "texts and their settings have put their stamp on the form and expression of the music" - there's a paradox!

The solution should be with texts and translations (especially as these are all out of copyright) on the Internet - some record companies do this, often with sound extracts to help potential purchasers decide.

Peter Grahame Woolf

© Peter Grahame Woolf