To me, the most important is and remain the spirit of the interpretation, so usually I can easily forgive some technical flaws in performance and recording/mixing, provided the spirit of the music appeals to my imagination. Still I find this Jochum-recording slightly disappointing. Perhaps the reason is that I am used to his Christmas oratorio (Weihnachts-oratorium) from 1973, both intimate and glorious, perfect on all levels, but sadly out of print... This is not out of print - september 2005 - if you search B0007RO57K on Amazon you find the reissue. I have to agree with the other reviewers that this b-minor mass - it is from 1982, not from the 50ies - suffers from some weak singers and a dubious sound quality; it is something foggy about it. Jochum's forces are too big here - unlike the Christmas oratorio - but despite these drawbacks, we still have Jochum's baton, his wand! There is an incomparable dignity to the phrasing and pacing; this is a solemn performance and it grows in my mind by repeated listening. I also like Herreweghe's very different interpretation - Amazon-search B000005Z2W - which in fact has all the clarity, all the transparency I miss by Jochum's 1982-recording. I need them both.
P.S. July 2006: Yes, I did need both, because I had not found Rilling's b-minor mass yet. That one leaves no wishes open and gets the final fifth star, Amazon search: B00004S584.