Richard Hickox has already recorded a vast number of masses from the classical period and it is god that he has now turned his attentions to the early Beethoven mass. The usual team of soloists is outfitted alongside the Collegium Musicum 90.
The mass unfolds quite beautifully in Hickox's excellently charged reading and demonstrates Beethoven's ability to make wonderful music from small doses. I as previously familiar with other sterling interpretations of the work such as Giulini (EMI) and an old LP featuring the Bonn Orchestra that still hold a certain fascination for me but now Hickox must definitely be the first choice.
Hickox is also conversant with the pressure points of the mass, especially in its glorious opening 'Kyrie' and its propulsive 'Credo' that is distinctly similar o Mozart's own Mass in the same key. However, the distinctive Beethoven touch is always omnipresent and the music comes across as very beautiful and impressive.
The accompanying pieces are also worth noting. 'Elgischer Gesang' is another delightful piece whilst 'Merestille und Gluckliche Fahrt' has received brilliant performances before but none so riveting in the second section. I only wished that conductor and company could have found room for more material!
Notwithstanding economic qualms, this is definitely a disc to treasure and I have no hesitation in providing the thumbs up to any collector who still has not got this delightful work in his/her collection.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech