Arguably the greatest composer of Classical era masses, Franz Joseph Haydn wrote 14 superb examples in the genre, with the Missa in Tempore belli, Missa in Angustiis, Theresienmesse, Schöpfungsmesse, and the Harmoniemesse being the best known and most performed today. The Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae was a relatively early work, written in 1766 and revised in 1773, and despite its popularity in Haydn's time, as attested by multiple surviving copies, it is seldom heard in the choral repertoire, despite its glorious counterpoint, quasi-operatic vocal parts, and bold orchestral writing. Presented on this 2019 Harmonia Mundi release is a period-style interpretation by Justin Doyle and the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, in collaboration with the RIAS Kammerchor, who give an enthusiastic performance with transparent lines and clear diction. Because this is a historically informed reading, the ensembles are scaled-down and lean, though the sound is quite luminous, with a vibrant string section and well-blended winds that give body to the orchestral textures. Harmonia Mundi's live-recorded sound is well-balanced between the clarity and warm presence of the groups and the resonant acoustics of the Konzerthaus Berlin.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae, Hob. XXII:5|