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Haydn – Missa Cellensis

Teuscher, Kielland, Schafer, van der Kamp, Anima Eterna and Jos van Immerseel


Carus-Verlag – Carus 83.247 [2009 – 68 minutes]


Haydn’s Missa Cellencis in C major Hob. XXII:5, or Cecilia Mass as it has been known since about 1820, was originally composed for the Cecilian brotherhood in Vienna. It is about an hour long and was most likely composed for a special occasion as it features celebratory trumpets and drums. Unfortunately, the details of what this might have been or who performed the work are hazy at best. The style of the work could be described as a cross between Handel and Mozart. Some movements are inescapably baroque such as the jaunty Domine Deus while at other times the vocal writing in particular points to the lyicism of Mozart.


Overall, the effect of the work is tremendously uplifting – the sheer range of emotional expression in the piece keeps you riveted all the way through.


Anima Eterna is a young ensemle which ‘strives to search for and reveal what is characteristic and typical about each work’ using instruments dating from different periods to achieve this. Is it obvious from listening to them that a lot of attention has been paid to stylistic detail and unity of sound particularly from the orchestral players.


I don’t feel that the high standard of performance and attention to detail evident in the orchestra is matched by that of the vocal ensemble. There is however some lovely singing by the soloists particularly from soprano Lydai Teuscher in  the Quoniam and Laudamus Te. Her light voice is agile and exciting and articulates perfectly the twists and turns of the vocal writing.


So this disc does not quite match up to the performers' manifesto. The rather pedestrian contribution from the vocal emsemble left me decidedly unmoved and no amount of stylish figure shaping from the orchestra could salvage it for me. It was interesting to discover a work which was previously unknown to me and I look forward to hearing it in a live context.


Tess Ormond