Monday, 2 February 2009

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) - Messa di Gloria

"Rossini's Messa di Gloria is not just a masterpiece, but also a work of outstanding significance. It is the first sacred composition of Rossini's maturity, and, indeed, the only sacred work from this period of his compositional activity. It shows the influence of his Neapolitan operas, above all, 'Mosè in Egitto', in its masterly handling of the orchestra, its feeling for detail and mastery of the whole range of stylistic methods, while at the same time clearly representing the composer's search for his own particular style for a sacred work. The Messa is a work that has earned the right, after a hundred years of silence, to be performed and accepted as one of the great sacred compositions of the nineteenth century." (quotation from the world-famous Rossini expert, Professor Gosset)

The first performance of the Mass took place on 24 March 1820 in the church of Saint Ferdinand, in Naples. The "Giornale delle due Sicilie", on 31 March described the music as masterly, worthy and uplifting.

No further performance of the work is recorded. It first appeared in print in Paris in the 1860s in a piano reduction; the score survives only as copies.

Only the first sheet of the "Domine Deus" survives in Rossini's autograph. The composer himself separated it from the autograph score in 1846, and presented it to the librettist Gustave Vaez.

This complex tale of sources may perhaps be the reason why the work remained hidden from pulic view until the mid-1960s.

More recently, since the performance under the auspices of the Rossini Opera Festival in Paesaro on 29 February 1992 (the composer's 200th birthday), the work has at last begun to find its way into the repertoire, as one of the most refined examples of Italian church music of the first half of the nineteenth century.

The Compact Disc was released by ARTE NOVA, 2000, (DDD). ARTE NOVA 74321777112.

Soprano: Doreen Maria de Feis
Mezzo-Soprano: Caroline Odermatt
Tenor: Patrizio Saudelli
Bass: Christian Tschelebiew

Landesjugendchor Baden-Würtemberg, European Festival Orchestra, Conductor: Wilhelm Keitel

Track List:
  1. Kyrie Eleison (4'25")
  2. Christe Eleison (3'06")
  3. Kyrie Eleison (3'51")
  4. Gloria (6'05")
  5. Laudamus (7'55")
  6. Gratias (8'42")
  7. Domine Deus (6'35")
  8. Qui tollis (11'45")
  9. Quoniam (7'58")
  10. Cum Sancto (4'36")