Haydn: Symphony No 103 & Theresienmesse (CORO) ****
Harry Christophers’ relationship with the Boston-based Handel and Haydn Society has produced a refreshing series of recordings, particularly of Haydn’s music. As a period instrument band and sizeable chorus, such couplings as this most recent one – the “Drumroll” Symphony No 103 and the Theresienmesse – are intriguing possibilities. Christophers opens with the symphony, the sceptre-like presence of the solo timpani inspiring a reading that progresses with soulful purity and precision. There’s a minuscule flatness about the opening intonation, but in the light of the sparkle that fills the later Menuet and Finale it may be a conscious, anticipatory deliberation. The main course is the Mass, and a performance that fully captures its nobility and spiritual fervour. The chorus offers a suitably contained resplendence, complemented by the well-matched solo quartet of Mary Bevan (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo soprano), Jeremy Budd (tenor), and Sumner Thompson (baritone). A well-rounded release.