Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 30 May 2005

Michael Haydn

Requiem Pro Defuncto Archepiscopo Sigismondo
Missa In Honorem Sanctae Ursulae
Choir of the King's Consort
Robert King
2 CD's, Hyperion

You're thinking Haydn? Was Michael his first name? It was not. Michael is the less famous brother who nevertheless was regarded as being superior in the field of sacred music. He, unlike his more famous brother and Mozart, stayed in Saltzburg and spent over forty years in the same position amongst the musical elite in Catholic Saltzburg.

The requiem here is for the lamented death of an Archbishop who was his boss. It also came at a time of greatly added grief as his baby daughter had just died before the age of one. Parallels are taken between this great work and Mozart's later unfinished Requiem but other than the fact that Mozart would have heard this piece, and that he was able to recall whole passages of music years later after one hearing, there is no particular evidence to say that this requiem was other than an influence.

The second piece is a Mass for a Benedictine Abbey where a friend of his was taking her final vows. This is regarded as one of Haydn's finest late masses so this couple of CD's is well worth having. (Count K)

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