Monday, 5 December 2011

Bernstein conducts Haydn's Missa in tempore belli

Can any composer, save perhaps Bach, express such utter, unmediated joy? With Mozart, there will always be sadness, smiling through the tears; with Beethoven, there will be strenuous effort; somehow, partly a matter of historical positioning, but also of ontology, that is not necessarily so for Haydn..

1 comment:

Curtis Rogers said...

Having just heard a performance in Winchester Cathedral at the weekend of Israel in Egypt, what about Handel - particularly in the expansive and joyous choruses of the oratorios. After all, it was Handel who inspired Haydn's own choral music from the 1790s after he heard one of the oratorios in London, and proclaimed Handel to be "the master of us all". Even period style performances cannot entirely diminish the grandeur of Handel's uplifting harmonies, but certainly they are so much more sonorous when played on modern instruments.

Such a work on a smaller scale as the mini opera Acis and Galatea (reviewed about a month ago)also expresses irrespressibly and irresistibly life's vital energy and force.

Incidentally, following the comments on your review of the performance of L'Enfance du Christ at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 8th December (and posted the next day), at which we were both present, I must also observe what a pleasure the performance of Israel in Egypt (by the Waynflete Singers and Florilegium) was at Winchester, without any corporate sponsorship in evidence to vulgarise the event.