- Mass No. 17 for soloists, chorus & orchestra in C minor (fragment, "Great Mass"), K. 427 (K. 417a)
- Bernice che fai, cantata, H. 24a/10
- Ah! perfido! . . . Per pieta, non dirmi addio, scena and aria for soprano & orchestra, Op. 65
On the evidence of this disc, Paul McCreesh's recordings are as fascinating and idiosyncratic as ever. From his glorious "Venetian Vespers" through his evocative "Epiphany Mass" and even his extravagant "Solomon," McCreesh has produced a body of work that remains completely interesting and consistently eccentric. In this disc combining three works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven featuring the soprano voice, McCreesh not only explicitly compares and contrasts their ways of writing for soprano, not only implicitly creates a subliminal study of feminine psychology, but also showcases the extraordinary talent of Camilla Tilling. In his unfinished "C minor Mass" with two soprano soloists, Mozart approached the soprano as a radiant creature of capricious virtuosity. In his "Scene" and "Aria Bernice, che fal?," Haydn approached the soprano as a fully human woman with tremendous emotionality. In his "Scene" and "Aria Ah! perfido," Beethoven approached the soprano as nearly superhuman heroine with unbelievable intensity. And in all three performances, McCreesh apprehends and articulates the idealized essence of femininity -- the sweetness, the strength, the sensitivity, and the occasional sheer cussedness. Soprano Camilla Tilling has already released a pure as milk Mahler "Fourth" and a powerful as straight whiskey "Dido and Aeneas," but this is by far her best recording yet. Her tone is chaste and her technique is impeccable but her passionate interpretations and the depth of her characterization makes McCreesh's portraits come to life. The other soloists in the mass are fine and second soprano Sarah Connolly is more than fine and nearly a match for Tilling. The Gabrieli Consort is in superb voice and the Gabrieli Players are light, tight, and always just right. Archiv's sound is crisp, clear, and centered. McCreesh's conducting is fascinating and idiosyncratic, yes, but it is also compelling.