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Schubert : Masses No.5 In A Flat Major D678 & No.6 In E Flat Major D950

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On Friday 2 October 2009 Nikolaus Harnoncourt was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Gramophone awards ceremony in London.

Celebrating his 80th birthday in 2009, Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin, grew up in Graz (Austria) and studied the cello in Vienna, where from 1952 to 1969 he was a cellist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In 1972 he became Professor for ... Read more in Amazon's Nikolaus Harnoncourt Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Jun. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B0050R275Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,201 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Schubert : Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : I Kyrie
2. Schubert : Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : Ii Gloria
3. Schubert : Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : Iii Credo
4. Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : Iv Sanctus
5. Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : V Benedictus
6. Mass No.5 In A Flat Major D678, 'Missa Solemnis' : Vi Agnus Dei
Disc: 2
1. Schubert : Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : I Kyrie
2. Schubert : Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : Ii Gloria
3. Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : Iii Credo
4. Schubert : Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : Iv Sanctus
5. Schubert : Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : V Benedictus
6. Schubert : Mass No.6 In E Flat Major D950, 'Missa Solemnis' : Vi Agnus Dei

Product Description

Franz Schubert Schubert: Masses No.5 in A flat major D678 & No.6 in E flat major D950 (Harnoncourt)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is the fourth time around for these splendid recordings of Schubert's Mass in E flat major (D950) and A flat major (D678); this endless recycling of back catalogue by Warner becomes ever more confusing! These well-regarded recordings were made live in front of a silent audience in 1995 and feature the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with excellent soloists. The main downside is the slightly recessed recording - this is easily remedied by increasing the volume.

First released by Teldec Schubert: Mass No.6 Missa Solemnis D678/Harnoncourt with full notes, then on Warner's "Elatus" imprint Schubert - Missa Solemnis as a 2-CD set, the recordings were packaged for a third time on the short-lived "Maestro" imprint not so long ago Schubert - Masses D678 and D950. Now the set turns up on the super-budget Apex label (a home for some real treasures), with no notes whatsoever. Beware duplication.

Worth having to get a more complete view of Schubert outside of his songs, piano sonatas, quartets and symphonies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One piece, at least, is a neglected late masterpiece 20 Oct. 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I came completely blind to these works, the two only large-scale masses Schubert wrote, in the hope that I would find in them the same emotional directness, melodic invention and combination of grandeur and pathos that I experience when listening to Schubert's greatest music. As it turns out, I'm afraid I cannot quite share Harnoncourt's enthusiasm for the earlier of these two works, the earlier Mass in A flat of 1822, which strikes me as amongst the least inspired and inspiring music that Schubert ever wrote. That is not to say that there are not striking and beautiful moments here, but by and large they are really rather "tame" by comparison with the liturgical music of Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven - or indeed the later Mass in E flat. Some of this has to do with the slightly distant acoustic of these live recordings, whereby the orchestra is very recessed compared with the voices, presumably the result of Harnoncourt's evident desire to underline the weightiness of what is ultimately often very conventional writing; he emphasises a polished beauty of line and the contribution of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is thus less vigorous and spicy than one might have wished.

The most original aspect of the earlier mass D678 is the prominence Schubert gives to the brass in an orchestra without flutes, according to the Viennese tradition, often introducing what sounds almost like hunting motifs; but he also rather relies on repeated, chordal, punctuational figures for the brass which can sound gauche and over-emphatic. The Kyrie meanders somewhat, which could be said of quite a lot of this music; the over-long Gloria trundles along, the Credo begins with a bold, impressive brass fanfare followed by a slightly unconvincing fugue. Orgonasova notably soars both here and in the later mass, while the other soloists are competent, although I do not much care for Deon van der Walt's falsetto-biased tenor or the weak bass.

There is much more to enjoy in the D950 from 1828 and first performed posthumously. The most striking innovation her is Schubert's typically Romantic use of modulations, whereby the music suddenly takes unexpected directions. The opening of the Kyrie, with its warm blend of wind instruments, immediately signals a higher level of creativity and artistry than the D678 and the trio "Et incarnatus est" for soprano and two tenors in the Credo is sublime, the subsequent fugue and the one in the Agnus Dei are both much more assured. Perhaps one of the reasons for the comparative neglect of what many consider to be yet another of the masterpieces written by Schubert in his final year is the four-square nature of the Agnus Dei, but rather fades out without offering much of a consolatory nature - probably reflecting Schubert's own unorthodox and wavering faith.

The Arnold Schoenberg Choir live up to their reputation as consummate professionals. Although the recording is live, you would scarcely know it from any audience noise, although the distanced orchestra mentioned above and a lack of definition in the sound might tip you off. I don't think I will much listen to the earlier Mass, but the later work is a gem.
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