The American Boychoir - Mass and Vespers for the Feast of Holy Innocents - The Scotsman

The custom in Europe of celebrating the Feast of Holy Innocents with children alone - this included the appointment of a "Boy Bishop" for the day - resulted in the likes of Johann Michael Haydn (Franz Josef's younger brother) composing gorgeous Mass settings for boy choristers.

The American Boychoir, under James Litton and with the instrumentalists of the New York Collegium, intersperse plainsong and Mozart church sonatas in an intriguing reconstruction of how the service might have been presented in Haydn's Salzburg in the early 19th century. I suspect the purity of sound from the Americans may differ considerably from the more throaty timbre we know from the likes of the Vienna Boys Choir.

But it's a performance that does the lesser-known Haydn full justice.

The Scotsman
05 February 2001