Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Masonic Music (Complete) Dir, Seele des Weltalls, K429 [7:26]
Adagio in F major, K410 [1:44]
Adagio in B flat major, K411 [5:48] Lied zur Gesellenreise,
K4681 [3:46] Zerfliesset heut’, geliebte Bruder, K483 [2:27] Ihr unsre neuen Leiter, K484 [3:25] Die Maurerfreude,
K471 [6:52] Maurerische Trauermusik (Masonic
Funeral Music), K477 [4:02] Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt,
Adagio & Fugue in c minor [5:38] Lobegesang auf die feierliche Johannisloge, K148, ‘O
heiliges Band der Freundschaft’[3:49] Eine kliene Freimaurer-Kantata: Laut verkünde unsre
Freude, K623 [12:54]
end of review for performer details
rec. Rehearsal Hall, Staatstheater Kassel, Germany, 5-6 November
Booklet with texts but no translations. NAXOS 8.570897 [65:49]
We already have
good recordings of Mozart’s Masonic Music, from Peter Schreier
in the Philips Complete Mozart Edition, coupled with the
Litanies (no longer available in the UK except as an iTunes
or amazon.co.uk download?), and on Decca from István Kertész
(425 722 2).
Mozart never conceived
of all this music being played at the same time. These items
were intended for different occasions, so that we have works
in a range of moods, variously combining solo tenor, two
tenors and baritone, choir, piano, small instrumental ensemble
and chamber orchestra. Moreover, different conductors have
different ideas of what ‘complete’ Masonic music should include:
Schreier omits the Adagios, K410 and K411 but includes
K623a, Laßt uns mit geschlungenen Händen, not included
on the new CD. Kertész omits the Adagios, K410 and
K411 as well as the Adagio and Fugue, K546. Peter
Maag, on a vintage 2-CD Vox set (CDX5055), includes De
profundis, K93, Sancta Maria, K273 and the well-known Ave
verum corpus, K618.
work here, sometimes included on its own as a filler for
performances of Mozart’s Requiem, is the short orchestral Mauerische
Trauermusik or Masonic Funeral Music, K477. Roberto Paternostro
on the new recording takes this work at a rather faster pace
than usual – 4:02 against Kertész’s 5:49 and Schreier’s 4:45.
It works reasonably well, but there’s some loss at this speed
of the sense that this is funeral music; it almost sounds
like a completely different work. I’ve heard only the extremely
slow opening sample of the Vox/Maag, which runs to 7:22.
Karajan takes 6:05 on an EMI CD of strange bedfellows, combining
Brahms’s Second Symphony, the Mozart and Strauss’s Metamorphosen.
Slowest of all is Bruno Walter at 7:40 though, paradoxically,
he seems to keep the music flowing more than anyone - CBS/Sony,
not currently available in the UK? If Walter, Kertész, Maag
and Karajan are arguably too funereal, Paternostro seems
to miss the spirit of the work entirely – it is called Trauermusik,
after all – but he maintains much of its essential dignity.
tempi in the opening Dir, Seele des Weltalls (trs.
1-2), are also rather faster than Schreier’s or Kertész’s.
This works well in this short cantata of praise to the sun,
soul of the whole universe and provider of fruitfulness,
warmth and light. The opening section is for choir, the second
an aria for tenor, thanking the sun for the return of spring.
The men of the Kassel State Opera Chorus acquit themselves
well and Heo Young-Hoon’s light tenor voice is very well
suited to the aria, fully worthy of comparison with Walter
Krenn on the Kertész recording. By coincidence, too, though
Paternostro takes just 3:04 for the opening chorus against
Kertész’s 3:40, both take 4:22 for the tenor aria.
The Naxos recording
closes in jubilant mood, as it began, with the Masonic cantata Laut
verkünde unsre Freude, K623, proclaiming the joy of belonging
to the brotherhood (trs.14-17). This is the penultimate item
on Kertész’s recording and Schreier opens, equally appropriately,
with this cantata. Paternostro is actually slightly slower
than Schreier in the opening and closing choruses, matches
him almost exactly in the tenor aria, and is very slightly
slower in the remaining sections. He’s also slightly slower
than Kertész overall. He takes 1:45 for the final chorus,
where his two competitors both take 1:30. It’s not a huge
difference, but I think that it gives them both a slight
edge in this work and leaves us with a final item in the
Naxos recording that doesn’t quite go with a bang.
stress the importance of first and most recent encounters – the ‘primacy’ and ‘recency’ effect;
if the primacy effect of this Naxos recording is favourable,
the recency effect is slightly against it, though I wouldn’t
make it a big issue. Young-Hoon’s singing in this work is
matched by that of Lars Ruehl, second tenor, and Jürgen Appel,
The two Adagios (trs.3-4)
could well pass as movements from the wind serenades. Both
receive performances which fully justify their inclusion
here when the rival complete recordings omit them. The Adagio
and Fugue, K546 (trs.11-12) also receives a good performance
from the Kassel Spohr Chamber Orchestra.
the exception of the Trauermusik, all the items are
vocal. Young-Hoon and the chorus, separately or together,
acquit themselves well and are supported in style by the
pianist, Alberto Bertino, and the orchestra. As in the final Laut
verkünde, the earlier Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls
ehrt (tr.10) is a shade slower than Kertész or Schreier,
without seeming in any way too slow, while all three take Die
Mauerfreude (tr.8) at a similar pace.
is good throughout. The presentation, too, is fine, with
excellent notes and a readable English translation. The German
texts are provided, but not English translations, though
the paraphrases in the notes are certainly helpful. I’m pleased
to see at least the German texts when I’ve criticised Naxos
- and others - recently for making libretti available only
online. In fact, to give praise where it’s due, I know that
one dedicated Naxos employee has recently been hard at work
trying to tidy up the online libretto for the Fasch Passio which
I criticised last year – see review.
That’s an A for effort, so consider the ‘thumbs up’ which
I withheld from that recording now to be earned.
With its price
advantage over the mid-price Kertész and the downloads of
the 3-CD Schreier recording, the new Naxos CD may be safely
recommended. It comes, too, with a bonus download track from
Haydn’s Farewell Symphony.
Performer details Dir, Seele des Weltalls Die Maurerfreude
Heo Young-Hoon (tenor) Male
Voices of the Kassel State Opera Chorus; Kassel
Spohr Chamber Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro
Adagio in F major
Sabine Neher, Alfred Wurm (basset-horns) Kuriko
Adagio in B flat major
Tetsuo Hirosawa, Markus Euler (clarinets) Sabine Neher, Alfred
Wurm, Margarete Fiedler (basset-horns)
Lied zur Gesellenreise Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt
Heo Young-Hoon (tenor), Alberto Bertino
Zerfliesset heut’, geliebte Bruder Ihr unsre neuen Leiter Lobegesang auf die feierliche Johannisloge
Heo Young-Hoon (tenor), Alberto Bertino (piano) Male
Voices of the Kassel State Opera Chorus
Maurerische Trauermusik (Masonic Funeral Music)
Adagio & Fugue in
Kassel Spohr Chamber Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro
Eine kliene Freimaurer-Kantata: Laut verkünde unsre Freude
Heo Young-Hoon, Lars-Oliver
Ruehl (tenor) Jürgen
Appel (baritone) Male
Voices of the Kassel State Opera Chorus, Kassel
Spohr Chamber Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro
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