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Te Deum & Other Sacred Works

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 28, 2010
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B003VY8PTU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I don’t know what on earth commentator O’H wanted to say above, nor to whom. Evidently, I am not among his trillion (¿¡?) of readers (maybe he meant three?). But I did not waste a minute trying, for it is not worthwhile.
Now, as a simple and unpretentious review of the recording for those who just want to decide whether to buy it or not, I’d say that Hasse’s sacred music is pious above all, and not sumptuous or bombastic. That was precisely the difficult and delicate task he assumed accepting his position in the Dresden court: Saxony was a reformed princedom, but his prince-elector was offered the kingdom of Poland provided he reconverted to Catholicism. And he accepted. The reason of this quality of austerity in the catholic music is simply its liturgical use, that never can overshadow the sacramental mystery celebrated itself. Just remember the Palestrina episode, when the great musician had to compose a Mass (“Papae Marcelli”) to convince the Pope that polyphony wasn’t against those principles.
We can be sorry that Bach was not elected (unjustly) for the position, but perhaps we wouldn’t have the grandiose music allowed to him by the not-believed divine lutheran liturgy. Hasse, on the other hand, was perfectly adapted for this kind of music after studying and composing in Italy for almost ten years, and even for his musician italian wife. This quality can be seen from the very titles of the compositions here: two “Tantum Ergo”, a poem of Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Holy Sacrament (in fact, part of the Eucharistic blessing liturgy); two Marian antiphons (Sub tuum and the paschal Regina Coeli); the Marian litanies; etc.
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Format: Audio CD
As trillions of my readers will know, my Beloved Adversary (who has sadly gone MIA from Amazon) was brave enough to utter the Hasse Prophecy to the acclaim of courtiers and cronies alike:

"(Hasse's) music is still not performed as often or as widely as it deserves, and his dozens of operas, I predict, will be the next `discovery' in European theatres."

With all the tenacity of a Texan oilman, I have initiated a search of pay-dirt, Hasse-style. It could be a colossal waste of time and energy. In consequence, it might cause me to kick the mutt or inflame certain `hydraulic challenges'. Perhaps I should wait until Lent. Whatever. Some poor bugger has to do it; it might as well be yours truly.

Strange to say, this is another dry well. It's a real chore to wade through these semi-inspired compositions and all the more so when clipped phrasing is in play. The soloists are wannabe Sandrine Piaus in their thin, wispy voices so beloved of the Period Practice Taliban. There are plenty of nice touches here and there which collectively fail to make an impression. If it were not for the texts themselves, I would struggle to identify the address of each composition. Worse still, it's amazing how rhythmically rigid Hasse's music is. Is it all in 4/4 time - clop, clop, clop, clop like a Clydesdale? Could one also suggest it's unadventurous in its chromaticism or lack thereof?

The Salzburg Kid also turned his hand to these various texts: namely, a Te Deum (K 141), Litaniae Lauretanae (K 109 & K 195), Sub Tuum Praesidium (K 198 - doubtful), Tantum Ergo (K 197) & Regina Coeli (K 108, K 127 & K 276). They offer instruction: of the gap between genius and talent.

A wider prophecy is in play, uttered by Hasse himself: "This youngster will consign us all to oblivion." In practice, how right he was.
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