Gounod’s “Messe solennelle en l’honneur de Sainte Cecile” contains some of the most beautiful music one might ever want to hear. My favorite selections from this masterpiece are Sanctus and Benedictus, cuts five and six. I first heard Sanctus in the early 1950s when my parents brought home a vinyl recording that included the musical highlight.
The following Amazon review describes this recording quite well.
“When I was a teenager I heard for the first time the Sanctus of this Gounod Mass in a radio broadcast. I was so fond of it, that I never forgot the melody of the Sanctus for many years, till I purchase it in a local CD’s store, this EMI disc. Immediately I thought that it should be a great performance for the conductor was Goerges Prête, and Barbara Hendricks the soprano soloist. I had recently heard Barbara Hendricks singing the Rückert Lieder and the Fourth Symphony , both by Mahler in Lisbon with the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra. I was astonished with her voice and singing. When I played the disc on my equipment I became acquainted for the first time with the entire mass. For years I was looking for this disc (here in Azores is very dificult to buy classical CD’s)! Finally I had the recording. The mass is a wonder, rich in melody and expression, luminous spirituality and… and the magnificent Sanctus! The performace is quite discreet and soft, but full of religious feeling. Barbara Hendricks is obviously superb and the tenor Laurence Dale very fine and delicate in the Sanctus. The choral singing is first class. Goerge Prête is again a very expressive conductor, serious, without infatuation, precisely according to the spirit of the music. I knew, afterwords, other versions of the Gounod’ Cecilia Mass, but I never find any as good as this one. A must for all lovers of choral and religious music.“
Why the second music recommend today? I’ve been neglecting this feature of the blog so this is a bit of a catch-up.