Guild has already released an interesting recording of Mayr's Mass in C Major and this intriguing pairing of works featuring the oratorio, 'La Passione' and a 'Stabat Mater' will certainly be appropriate for a Holy Week binge. Although the oratorio certainly has its merits, most of it is definitely uninspired and pretty drab music, at times the almost operatic dimensions tend to disfigure the whole structure of the work. There is not much to say on the vocal quartet in the work but I was enthused in particular by Robert Merwald's bass voice which is one of the joys of an otherwise quite boorish succession of arias and recitatives.
Undoubtedly, one cannot look for the deep spiritual intensity of Bach's Passions here but those well versed in the Haydn oratorios will certainly want to add this work to their collection. The 'Stabat Mater' is perhaps a mite more involving and has some beautiful solo arias.
Guild's recording is quite fresh and invigorating and previous releases featuring Franz Hauk have always included several chunks of rare repertoire. Ultimately, one can decide after sampling some parts of the music. The notes are very detailed and extensive.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech