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4.3.11

More Hasse: Te Deum

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J. A. Hasse, Te Deum / Sacred works, Sächsisches Vocalensemble, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, M. Jung

(released on September 28, 2010)
cpo 777 462-2 | 68'24"
We draw attention to the music of Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783) when we can, but there are not that many opportunities to hear it performed, especially live. This recent release came out at the same time as another Hasse disc, on the Oehms label, and it falls into about the same category: a mostly pleasing performance, with plenty of charm as well as historical interest to offset a few infelicities. Much of Hasse's sacred music is in the rather plain style imitated in countless Mass settings by Haydn and Mozart: mostly homophonic chorus in alternation with solo lines for members of a solo vocal quartet, with decorated orchestral accompaniment. He provides some diversion with a few interesting solo and duet movements, like the tenor-bass duet that opens the setting of the hymn Tantum ergo in E-flat, followed by a soprano-alto duet. All of the movements recorded here make for pleasant and diverting listening, and occasionally Hasse hits on something truly beautiful, such as the aria-like Ora pro nobis, for mezzo-soprano, that serves as central section of the Regina Caeli, and the gorgeous second part of the concluding Agnus Dei in the Litaniae Lauretanae, with its pulsating bass under arching suspensions in the vocal parts. The instrumental contributions are rich and varied, easier on the ears than the occasionally flawed sound of the chorus and an uneven vocal quartet.

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