Rhinegold

Harriet Clifford

Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae – Choral CD review

4:07, 6th January 2020

Haydn: Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae
Johanna Winkel (s), Sophie Harmsen (a), Benjamin Bruns (t), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (b), RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin / Justin Doyle (dir)
Harmonia mundi HMM 902300 [65:43]
★★★★★

The origins of this most elaborate of Haydn’s Mass settings are enigmatic – the autograph score is incomplete, but the number of surviving copies indicates enormous popularity at the start of the 19th century. Bernhard Schrammek speculates in the liner notes that it may have been written as a personal thanks to the Blessed Virgin for Haydn’s professional achievements – he seems to have begun it shortly after his promotion to Kapellmeister at the court of Nikolaus Esterházy. The title indicates that it was intended for performance at the pilgrimage shrine of Mariazell. In this effervescent recording, RIAS Kammerchor and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under Justin Doyle’s secure direction make light work of its virtuosic musical challenges.

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