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Cat. No. CHAN 0712 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0712 - Hummel: Mass in E flat/ Te Deum/Quod in orbe
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Available From: 11 October 2004
Dated May 1804 on the autograph manuscript, the Mass in E flat, Op. 80 was the first to be completed by the composer after he had suceeded Haydn as Konzertmeister at the Esterházy court. Clearly anxious to position hiself as the worthy successor to Haydn, Hummel also directed a performance of The Creation in Eisenstadt in September and a few weeks later dedicated a piano sonata to the revered master. The affection was mutual and Haydn readily gave him advice about composition of the mass. The work is certainly a major statement of ambition by the twenty-six year old Hummel. Like Haydn, Hummel had the ability to create individuality out of standard practices that had long characterised settings of the mass in the Austrian tradition.

Settings of the Te Deum in Austria were often prompted by particular events such as a birthday, recovery of an illness, a return from a long journey. The autograph of Hummel’s Te Deum is annotated ‘for the celebration of peace 1805’. The event referred to is Napoleon’s signing of the Peace of Pressburg treaty on 26th December.

The precise cicumstances surrounding the composition of Quod in orbe are unknown. It was certainly completed before Hummel left the Esterházy court, perhaps as early as 1806. Designed as a Graduale, that is, a movement to be performed between the readings and prayers which separate the Gloria and the Credo during a mass, it sets an unusual text that prompts Hummel into an equally unusual setting. Scored for four-part chorus and orchestra, the movement is mainly led by male voices with, as in the mass, striking use of timpani.

…this one is one of the best period-instruments performances I have heard. The brass are especially glorious, and the other sections are smoothly played and contribute to the celebratory nature of the performance. The soloists are all very good. The Collegium 90 choral ensemble is very well trained by Richard Hickox. Chandos offers good notes and a superbly balanced recording that is not too distant but has a pleasant airiness. In short this of one of my favourite recordings of the year.
American Record Guide

'…this is a fine recording of music that deserves to be better known and more regularly performed.'
Early Music Review

'As with the previous disc in this series, Richard Hickox and his expert forces bring their usual mix of freshness, rhythmic élan and sensitivity to this attractive, often impressive work. Choir and orchestra respond eagerly to the conductor's enthusiastic direction. And the soloists, led by the ever-eloquent Susan Gritton, interact and blend with true chamber musical finesse.'
BBC Music Magazine

'The Blackheath Concert Hall recording is full and clear: this is shaping up to be an outstanding series.'

Hickox does all he can with the music, shaping it tautly and eliciting involved, spirited singing and playing. The soloists are excellent, Chandos’s recorded sound is what we’ve come to expect from the company – rich, warm, reverberant, but not muddy. Informative notes and full texts accompany the disc.


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