Continuing with the Gloria, the sixth part, Qui tollis peccata mundi, is
a relatively dark choral piece, but it does possess moments of radiance
and hope which need to be strongly communicated by the performing forces.
Otherwise, it will have a depressing quality at odds with the words. Three
of the versions (Bruggen, Pearlman, and Loenhardt) give full measure to the
hope inherent in the music. The other versions are partially successful.
The seventh part, Qui sedes ad dextram Patris, is a very tender and lyrical
aria for alto or contralto which features the oboe d'amore. I must admit
that I was not impressed with any of the vocal soloists. Parrott joins
King in using boy sopranos, and it doesn't work well in this piece.
Hickox is the only one having a female soloist, Catherine Denley, but she's
no better than the males. Michael Chance for Bruggen is working in very
smooth acoustic which does not flatter his tone. Leonhardt's Rene Jacobs
is competent. There's no Scholl in this group. But, there are two
versions, Gardiner and Rifkin, which are special. Gardiner provides a
beautiful flow to the aria, and this time Michael Chance is in a crisp
soundstage. Rifkin by far has the best wind playing and placement; it's
absolutely stunning and gives the music that extra degree of tenderness and
optimism. This isn't the first time I've mentioned how superbly the winds
perform and sound; this is clearly a very strong area for Rifkin. And
Gardiner continues to display, to me, a great feeling for the flow of the
The eighth part of the Gloria, Quonaiam tu solus sanctus, is a heroic aria
for bass which features the horn. Six versions, Pearlman, Parrott, King,
Herreweghe, Gardiner, and Hickox fully display the heroic properties, the
horn playing comes through strongly, and vocalism is fine. Two of the
versions, Bruggen and Leonhardt, have horn playing which is overly muted,
but that is offset by the outstanding vocalism of Harry van der Kamp for
Bruggen and either van der Kamp or Max van Egmond for Leonhardt - I can't
tell from the notes which bass is applicable although my bet is on van der
Kamp. Overall, only Rifkin's version is deficient; his slow pacing simply
robs the piece of its heroic quality.
The last part of the Gloria, Cum Sancto Spiritu, is rousing and uplifting
choral music. Although effective music, it's not as musically inventive as
most of the other choral parts of the Mass. Five of the versions are fine,
but four don't compare well; King and Pearlman are too fast, Herreweghe is
not inspired, and Rifkin's singers are not vocally attractive.
Having reached the proverbial mid-point of the Mass in b, Leonhardt and
Gardiner are looking best. Herreweghe, due to some sluggish performances,
holds up the rear.
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