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Michael Haydn’s Missa sub titulo Sancti Leopoldi (1808) was described by a contemporary of the composer’s as being dominated by the ‘style of childhood’ and ‘an honest faith that is not overly brooding’; and those remarks could be equally applied to his other Mass setting (from 1777) recorded here. Both were written for performance at the Salzburg Kapellhaus on Holy Innocents’ Day (marking the murder of the first-born male children on Herod’s instructions), when the Salzburg tradition was for boys without the male voices to sing the Mass. Michael Haydn provided unpretentious, straightforward settings without the wit and inventiveness of his older brother Joseph or the emotion of Mozart.

Kössler’s F minor Mass for high voices and organ dates from the 1880s and reflects something of his teacher Rheinberger’s influence. Gudrun Schröfel obtains stylish readings of all three pieces (the Kössler is a premiere recording) from her even-toned, well-focused Hanover forces.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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