One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785)
Der Messias
Meike Leluschko (soprano I); Friederike Beykirch (soprano II); Annekathrin Laabs (alto); Patrick Grahl (tenor); Tobias Berndt (bass I); Sebastian Wartig (bass II)
Sächsisches Vocalensemble
Batzdorfer Hofkapelle/Matthias Jung
rec. live, 5 June 2014, Annenkirche Dresden
CPO 777 947-2 [51:33 + 44:40]

Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785) is not a household name nowadays. Serving as church music director at the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, he was considered very highly in his own time. According to the booklet, Ernst Ludwig Gerber (1746-1819) counted him “without contradiction our greatest church composer”, while Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814) called Homilius “now definitely the best church composer as well as the greatest organist I have ever heard and perhaps will ever hear in my life”. Opinions on Homilius from the 19th and the 20th centuries, however, were not so kind.

Much of Homilius’s music was not published. Before 2004, only a handful of CDs of featuring his works existed. There have been twenty or so recordings since (many from the Carus label), the latest of which is this CPO recording of Der Messias (The Messiah). My only prior experience of Homilius’s music was a recording of his oboe sonata. I found it not the most inspired music. This recording of Der Messias hasn’t changed my view – the music is pleasant but not at the same artistic level as similar works by Bach, if that’s a valid comparison.

Der Messias HoWV 1.6 is an oratorio passion set to freely penned texts. It was first performed at the Frauenkirche in Dresden on Good Friday 1776. Despite its title, it is not related to Handel’s work. The rhythms and melodies show some characteristics of the transitional period from baroque to classical. Although Homilius supposedly studied with Johann Sebastian Bach, his music doesn’t bear much resemblance to that by the master.

The recorded sound is natural and clean. In fact I wasn’t aware that it was a live recording – there was no trace of audience noise or applause. The playing of the period-instrument ensemble Batzdorfer Hofkapelle is stylish and technically accomplished. Except for Meike Leluschko, all of the solo singers were trained in the eastern part of Germany - three of them in Dresden. The all-German cast sing well, with good diction, as would be expected from native German singers.

The 2-CD set is packaged in a slim-line double case. The 40-page booklet is of high quality, as one would expect from CPO. Detailed information on Homilius, Der Messias as well as the performers is provided, and the full libretto is given in an English translation alongside the original German.

This is a recording made in Dresden by a period-instrument ensemble, choir, soloists and conductor all based in or near Dresden, of a work that was from Dresden. It has a legitimate claim to authenticity. While the work itself is not at the level of the more famous Messiah or Bach’s passions, it is a good starting point for anyone interested in exploring works by Homilius.

Wai Kit Leung

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger