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Early Music

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Johann Adolf HASSE (1699 - 1783)
Requiem in E flat (1764) [42.27]
Miserere in d, [21.36]
Simona Houde-Šaturová, soprano; Britta Schwartz, alto; Eric Stokloßa, tenor; Gotthold Schwarz, bass
Dresdner Kammerchor
Dresdner Barockorchester/Hans-Christoph Rademann
Recorded in the Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany, 6 February 2005.
Notes in Deutsch, English, Français. Photos of artists, texts with translations.
CARUS 83.175 [65.04]


Carus present is a world premiere recording of this Requiem; another requiem by Hasse is more frequently performed, although I’ve never heard it. It is one thing to read about the influence of Italian composers on German composers of this period, and quite another to put on this disk of music by Hasse and hear "Vivaldi" coming out of the speakers! When Bach tried to sound like Vivaldi he succeeded in inventing Beethoven instead. Hasse married an Italian prima donna and they lived in Italy in his later years.

Following the awesomely solemn opening passage for tenors and basses, the music is bright and bouncy even during passages in the minor keys. The performance is sufficiently operatic that the excellent soloists are given pauses in which to improvise cadenzas, which they do with particular skill and flair. The Dies Irae starts off sounding like a direct steal from the Mozart Requiem, but then heads off on its own. The Lacrymosa also sounds Mozartean. The Recordare is a long florid soprano aria.

The Miserere in d opens sounding much like a chorus from Bach’s St Matthew Passion, but develops very differently from Bach’s style, more in a "modern" style for the times, also very operatic in the vocal writing. While the date of this composition is not given, Hasse was 14 years older than Bach and could easily have become aware of his music while he lived in Germany. Hasse wrote it for a Venetian orphanage for them to perform as a fund-raiser, so the date of composition is likely to be late. The final fugues in both works are exquisitely crafted and very emotional.

Being located in the suburbs, the Lukaskirche largely survived the firebombing of Dresden in World War II mostly losing only the top of its steeple. Due to roof damage, major repairs were required after Germany was reunified, and today, with its Silbermann organ fully restored, the Lukaskirche is a sought-after recording studio as well as a religious meeting hall. During Hasse’s lifetime, Dresden was destroyed in the Seven Years War of 1756-1763. In 1764 Hasse said goodbye to Dresden with this Requiem and moved to Vienna and later to Italy.

Paul Shoemaker

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