The seventh part of the Credo, Etin Spiritum Sanctum Dominium, is an
utterly captivating bass aria featuring the oboe d'amore (two). This
is serene music of great subtlety, an easy-going flow, and is entirely
uplifting. This might sound odd, but I derived equal pleasure from each
version. All the singing was mighty fine, each conductor had a great
vision of the music, and the featured instruments were lovely every time.
Actually, it really isn't odd since each version is performed by some of
the best practitioners of the HIP movement. Just reading through the lists
of instrumental performers provides many well-known artists who have gone
on to enhanced careers.
The eighth part, Confiteor, is a difficult piece to perform well. it can
easily sound a little boring in a droning sense. But, if the conductor
well recognizes the pulse of the music which comes from the bass line,
insures that the singers are in unison with the pulse, and provides a
natural spacing which allows the music to breathe, a very special
performance can be the result. Two of the versions, Parrott's and
Leonhardt's do just that. Pearlman, Bruggen, and Rifkin have some
trouble with the music's pulse. Four of the versions I have no interest
in listening to in the future; Herreweghe, Hickox, and Gardiner treat the
proceedings as if it's a voter registration drive day, so fast and heavy
that there's no room to breathe and staying with the pulse becomes a
hardship. King's choral work just doesn't pass the test, and nothing
else about it is distinctive. I'm probably sounding critical, but this
is the only music in the B minor Mass which represents basic failure for
a significant number of the versions compared. I have much admiration
for the interpretations from Parrott and Leonhardt.
The last part of the Credo, Et Expecto resurrectionem, is choral music
of pomp and triumph. At extremes that both work well, King is the most
exuberant and Rifkin the most dignified. Two versions do not provide much
of a sense of triumph; Herreweghe can't achieve it at his slow pace, and
Gardiner is more theatrical than triumphant.
Current Impressions: Gardiner, after a superior Gloria, does not fare well
in the Credo. Leonhardt continues excellently, and Herreweghe hasn't been
distinguishing himself. That's surprising, given his two great St.
It might just be me, but I find that the first half of the Mass has more
immediately appealing music than the second half. It could be that the
conductor needs to dig deeper into the Credo to bring out the beauty and
impact of the music. Gardiner and Herreweghe are not succeeding well in
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