Heinichen: Messen

Dresdner Kammerchor, Dresdner Barockorchester, Hans-Christoph Rademann
65:52
Carus 83.272 (C) 1999, 2000

This is a clever re-packaging of two separate recordings in which the Heinichen masses were coupled with Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Magnificat. I hope this means that Heinichen’s music is now well-enough known that it no longer needs the presence of a “big name” to sell it! In fact, in no way does either of these works pale into insignificance even alongside such accepted masterpieces – Heinichen, after all, held the Dresden job that Bach so coveted, and there is much in his choral music that recalls Handel at his best. There are Italianate arias (the Quoniam Tu solus from Missa No. 11 is for tenor, two horns and strings, and the Christe eleison from Missa Nr. 12 for soprano, alto, oboes and upper strings would be worthy of a place in any opera of the period!), declamatory choruses, and plenty of catchy fugal choral writing. Indeed, this music is ideally suited to choirs, and with all the D major pomp of horns and trumpets (not to mention flutes, oboes and recorders!), these two masses would make excellent Christmas concert pieces.

Brian Clark