Deutsche Messe (German Mass), D 872, is a mass composed by Franz Schubert in 1827. Its text is not the Latin liturgical text, but a sequence of poems in German by Johann Philipp Neumann who commissioned the work. It was originally scored for SATB choir, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 3 trombones, timpani and basso continuo. It is also known as the Gesänge zur Feier des heiligen Opfers der Messe ("Songs for the celebration of the holy offering of the Mass"), and the "Wind Mass" due to its orchestration of primarily wind instruments.
Formed by three Austrian immigrants and one youthful Londoner, the Amadeus Quartet came to prominence in postwar England. It excelled in the Classical repertoire, and its recordings in the 1950s were important contributions to the growing body of chamber music on the newly introduced LP. The process of recording on tape was a major improvement over the start-and-stop 78 rpm methods, and these clean and skillfully edited masters hold up quite well in the digital transfer. This seven-disc set follows Deutsche Grammophon's 2003 reissue of the quartet's early Mozart recordings, and covers works by Haydn, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, thus giving a fuller representation of the group's prodigious output for Westminster and DG.
When we look past the extended meditations of the sonatas into the rest of Schubert's piano music, we tend hardly to see beyond the Wanderer Fantasy and the Impromptus. This undervalues the composer's contribution to the work for his instrument, as the Italian pianist Alberto Miodini reveals on an extensive exploration of the sometimes slighter and lighter but often just shorter works he composed through his all-too-short career.
Franz Schubert’s choral works have certainly never achieved the popularity or the impact of his late symphonies, of some of the piano and chamber works, or of his best-known songs. And yet his extensive choral oeuvre is no less important, and no less characteristic….
Considering that Schubert himself didn't really believe in the texts he was setting, it's remarkable how credible so much of his sacred music is. But considering that Schubert himself was probably the greatest melodist of all the great composers, it's equally remarkable how forgettable so much of his sacred music is.
Following the Artemis Quartet‘s prizewinning Beethoven Quartet cycle on Virgin Classics, the Berlin-based ensemble has recorded Schubert’s last three quartets, works that Artemis cellist Eckart Runge praises for both their “incredible simplicity and purity” and their “almost terrifying modernism”. Awarded both Germany‘s prestigious Klassik ECHO award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in 2011 for their Virgin Classics Beethoven cycle, the members of the Artemis Quartet now release an all-Schubert CD. It presents the composer’s final three string quartets: No 13 in A minor, ‘Rosamunde’ (which draws on his incidental music for Helmina von Chezy’s play Rosamunde); No 14 in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’ (with its haunting second movement based on his song Der Tod und das Mädchen), and No 15 in G major.
Malcolm Bilson once gave a lecture-demonstration in which he said that of all the composers he played, Schubert gained most from being heard on an antique piano. According to Bilson, Schubert's phrases are designed for instruments whose notes die away more quickly than they do on the modern piano. Whatever the reason, Bilson, here playing on a colorful-sounding Graf fortepiano from 1835, gives extremely effective and convincing performances of both of these major Schubert sonatas, which gain in transparency from the early instrument without losing their emotional force. Very highly recommended.
…Such playing (though if I'm to be hyper-critical I don't care for some of the solo-violin playing), such excellent recording balance and, above all, such conducting, Karajan at his most relaxed and winning, making all the humorous and fantastic points in the score with such affection. - The Gramophone