[ Hyperion / 2 CD ]
Release Date: Friday 2 March 2018
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Following much-praised accounts of the St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Stephen Layton now turns to the B minor Mass. With Trinity College Cambridge forces and a fine roster of soloists, the results are guaranteed to prove equally spectacular.
'Katherine Watson, already a busy soloist, has a delightful baroque soprano voice … but it is Iestyn Davies who serves up this recording's jewel in his first recorded Agnus Dei, a masterclass in technique, vocal beauty and moving musicality that it is hard to imagine surpassed … this is a fresh and attractive B minor Mass, with plenty in it to enjoy' (Gramophone)
'Layton's Bach is rightly prized for its clear-headed vision and lack of eccentricity. He has a fine team of soloists: Katherine Watson and Helen Charlston's bright voices blend ideally in the Christe eleison, and Gwilym Bowen and Neal Davies are both stalwarts in their solos. But it is Iestyn Davies's singing of Qui sedes that takes this release into the realms of greatness. The OAE, with trumpets and drums in full cry in the Gloria, Osanna and Dona nobis pacem, make a splendid sound. Highly recommended' (The Sunday Times)
'We're treated to lively tempos, exemplified in the Cum Sancto Spiritu, … unusually transparent textures (you hear every voice, every instrumental line in the opening Kyrie, for example), first-rate soloists, and one of the more articulate and singer-sensitive orchestras you'll hear in this music … as one who's revisited more than a dozen recorded versions of the B minor Mass while preparing this review, my conclusion is that this one offers stylistically sound, true-to-Bach performances that are both modern yet historically informed, whose interpretive point of view and technical details will stand the test of time-and whose choral vocalism is a marvel' (Classics Today)
"This is one of the freshest and most enjoyable versions to have come my way for quite some time. It remains only to say that the recording itself is very good indeed, as you might expect since it was in the experienced hands of engineer David Hinitt and producer Adrian Peacock. Richard Wigmore contributes a fine booklet essay." MusicWeb