Of all the composers Sir Colin Davis has championed in his long career, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Hector Berlioz take pride of place; so it is fitting that Mozart's Kyrie in D minor, K. 341, and Berlioz's Te Deum, Op. 22, should be paired on this 2006 release from Profil (Vol. 10 in its Edition Staatskapelle Dresden.) The live 1998 performance of the Te Deum -- scored for tenor voice, multiple choirs, brass bands, organ, and large orchestra -- is impressive in sonority, monumental in effect, and emotionally powerful, though the forces are almost too massive, dense, and loud to be reproduced realistically on this MDR recording for radio broadcast. The brass fanfares are blazing, and the choirs' soaring parts are thrilling to hear, but at some point it becomes apparent that the apocalyptic impact of the performance wasn't fully captured. Still, what was recorded is more than compelling and Davis, tenor Neill Stuart, organist Hans-Dieter Schöne, and the massed Dresden choirs and orchestra deliver a satisfying rendition, one to rival the conductor's 1969 performance with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Also begging for comparison, the performance of the Kyrie is scalding in its penitential intensity and touching in its pathos, but it is a little looser in execution and hazier in sound than Davis' 1971 version, again with the LSO, which has the edge in being a tighter performance and a cleaner recording. But considering this Profil disc as a testament to Davis' passionate commitment to both composers and as a document of an important concert in the Staatskapelle's history, this album is a worthy addition to any Berlioz or Mozart specialist's library; but general collectors desiring definitive interpretations should check out Davis' earlier recordings on Philips.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Te Deum, for tenor, 3 choruses, brass bands, organ & orchestra, H. 118 (Op. 22)|