KARL KEMPTER: Pastoral Mass in G, Op. 24; DIABELLI: Pastoral Mass in F, Op. 147 – Soloists and Chorus of the Augsburger Domsingknaben/ Residenz-Kammerorchester Munchen/ Reinhard Kammler, conductor – Ars Musici 232130, 46:04 *** [Distrib. by Naxos]:
Karl Kempter (1819-1871) was the organist of the Augsburg Cathedral, and wrote oratorios (John the Baptist, Mary, the Shepherds of Bethlehem, The Revelation) and other music, primarily for the church. The notes to this release are not in English, so I had to go digging on the web for information about him. He contracted a nerve disease near the end of his life that put a halt to his musical career, and had the misfortune of suffering the deaths of his wife and youngest daughter.
Pope Pius IX named him an honorary member of the Academica Caecilia of Rome, so he must have made quite an impact in his day. The work presented on this disc, first given at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 1851, is his most popular, and while it won’t have you jettisoning your Mozart collection, is very worthwhile. This recording uses modern instruments and a boy’s choir, and is very nice to hear, though the mass is quite of its time, and very populist in its tuneful cheeriness.
The work by Anton Diabelli (of Beethoven variations fame) is likewise in this same mode, and actually the styles are almost interchangeable. Diabelli trained early on for the priesthood but ended up running a successful publishing house and created a small compositional corpus. This is one of his five masses.
The performers here all play very well (though take note—apparently this recording is from 1984) and there are no complaints except for lack of information in the booklet and the stingy playing time. If this fits the bill for an obscure hole in your collection don’t hesitate; but the lack thereof will probably not harm you either.
— Steven Ritter