> Angela Gheorghiu - Mysterium [JW]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Tatal nostru – Anton PLAN orch Chris Hazell
Priveghiati si va rugati – Gheorghe POPESCU-BRANESTI orch Chris Hazell
Stihuri din Catavasiile intampinarii Domnului – Gheorghe CUCU orch Chris Hazell
Iubi-Te-voi, Doamne- Evghenie HUMULESCU orch Chris Hazell
O holy night – Adolphe ADAM orch Chris Hazell
Mille cherubini in coro – Franz SCHUBERT arr Douglas Gamley and Chris Hazell
Pie Jesu – Gabriel FAURE
Wiegenlied Op 49 No 4 – Johannes BRAHMS arr Chris Hazell
Auf Flugeln des Gesanges Op 34 No 2 – Felix MENDELSSOHN arr Chris Hazell
Salve regina – Giacomo PUCCINI arr Ion Marin
Ave Maria – Pietro MASCAGNI arr Giacomo Zani
Pieta, Signore – Louis NIEDERMEYER arr Chris Hazel
Quia respexit – J.S. BACH
Ave Maria (Ellens dritter Gesang) – Franz SCHUBERT arr Chris Hazell
Adeste, fideles – John WADE arr Douglas Gamley and Chris Hazell
Angela Gheorghiu soprano
Romanian National Chamber Choir "Madrigal"
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Ion Marin conductor
Recorded All Hallows Church London 2001
DECCA 466 102-2 [61.21]

Piety takes many forms and this rather unshapely recital seeks to enshrine music that is of special significance to Angela Gheorghiu, not least in its dedication to her late sister, Nina. Opening with the tap of the toaca, a wooden percussion instrument used instead of a bell in Orthodox Moldavia, we are immediately immersed in the music of the Romanian twentieth century sacred revival. Of the four pieces the most affecting and affectingly sung is Iubi-Te-voi, Doamne - here as elsewhere on this disc Chris Hazell has undertaken the majority of orchestrations and arrangements. Decca could have spared a few lines to introduce him. Throughout the standard of singing is high – though by no means consistently so in matters of interpretation –and the support offered by the LPO under Ion Marin is best described as dutiful. Singing in English, German, Latin, Italian and her native Romanian Gheorghiu covers a wide range of ground, geographically and liturgically. Her Fauré I found unaffecting, her German in the Mendelssohn unidiomatic and the performance unconvincing. In the Puccini Salve Regina her voice opens out naturally with splendid results though the work itself is of limited musical interest. Her colouristic shading in the Mascagni is affectionately done and the oboe in Niedermeyer’s Pieta, Signore is as felicitous as is her singing. The Schubert is over emoted, with a melismatic choral contribution, piping woodwind and an outbreak of lush strings. Interesting, though, to hear how first the clarinets and finally the horns state the melody at the end – a piece of rather beguilingly obvious orchestration by Hazell. The John Wade Adeste, fideles is suitably ridiculous, if lusty.

Notes are of the kind one would expect, with texts in four languages, and, as I indicated earlier, nothing on arrangers and orchestrators.

Jonathan Woolf

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