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Sinfonietta / Glagolitic Mass Original recording remastered

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Sept. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000K4FH
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 473,421 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sinfonietta: I: Allegretto (Fanfare) - Simon Rattle
  2. Sinfonietta: II: Andante (The Spilberg Castle, Brno)
  3. Sinfonietta: III: Moderato (The Queen's Monastery, Brno)
  4. Sinfonietta: IV. Allegretto (The Street Leading To The Castle)
  5. Sinfonietta: Andante con moto (The Town Hall, Brno)
  6. Glagolitic Mass: I: Introduction
  7. Glagolitic Mass: II: Kyrie
  8. Glagolitic Mass: III: Gloria
  9. Glagolitic Mass: IV: Credo
  10. Glagolitic Mass: V: Sanctus
  11. Glagolitic Mass: VI: Agnus Dei
  12. Glagolitic Mass: VII: Organ solo
  13. Glagolitic Mass: VIII: Intrada

Product Description

RATTLE SIMON

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
Dating from Rattle's early career, these recordings have stood the test of time and remain prime recommendations for anyone looking to add these original and exciting works to their collection.

The Mass was, I think, Rattle's first recording with the CBSO and is given a competent and red-blooded performance that I have enjoyed often. The orchestral playing is alert, fresh and lithe and recorded with a great degree of detail. This is no workmanlike run-through and yet they already sound like they've been working with Rattle for many years. The extraordinarily versatile CBSO Chorus turn their attention to yet another language and manage to sound completely at home in it. I can't say how 'Czech-like' they sound, but their diction is clear and crisp and they sing with both haunting beauty and thrilling power.

The soloists are generally very strong although I suspect that Felicity Palmer's rather plummy-sounding soprano might not be to everyone's taste. I've grown used to it over the years although I have since come to prefer Sheila Armstrong's more elegant reading for Tennstedt live on BBC Legends [ Janácek - Glagolitic Mass; Strauss, R - Der Bürger alsEdelmann ], despite the insert and notes crediting the soprano as Ameral Gunson and Armstrong as the alto! Gunson takes the small alto role for Rattle too, joined by Malcolm King as an authoritative and dark-toned bass and the characteristically fearless John Mitchinson who trounces just about everybody else on record in the treacherously difficult tenor role.

I must also mention Jane Parker-Smith's fantastically insane account of the organ solo.
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Format: Audio CD
Not only is this performed with outstanding perfection, but the quality of the sound is also incredible, if only more CD's like this were available. Simon Rattle conducts with superb control, and The Birmingham Chorus give it their all in The Glagolitic Mass, (of which this is the best recording). This is a superb value CD that will hopefully give Janacek the recognition he deserves.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent product, music to my ears!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x951546f0) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9445c738) out of 5 stars Thrilling and powerful - the best of Janacek 12 May 2001
By Mark Swinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One of EMI's great recordings, this was in fact the first completely digital recording of the "Glagolitic Mass" to be made. The young Simon Rattle does it and the "Sinfonietta" full justice.
What of the music? Both these works date from the last years of Janacek's life and show his creative maturity in full bloom. His "Sinfonietta" is possibly the apex of his ethnomusical work in that it is positively dripping with Moravian folk-style motifs, projecting the heart and soul of Brno and its people as seen by the composer through his early-century collecting and absorbing of real folk music. Its five movements take us on a pictorial tour of the city of Brno, where Janacek spent most of his life living and working. The opening fanfare could almost qualify as a Janacek signature theme, just as the bassoon solo at the start of "The Rite of Spring" and the flute solo at the opening of "Prelude a l'apres midi d'une faune" are the signature tunes of Stravinsky and Debussy respectively. Beyond it lie four further movements of memorable melodies and rich orchestral harmonies: busy clarinets and strings at the start of the second movement; the curiously subdued harmonic progressions in the third movement that also seem to ache with longing at times; the lively and charming interplay between woodwind and strings (with a cameo from a rather loud bell!) in the fourth movement; and finally the beautiful final movement with its extended build-up to a reprise of the fanfare and an unforgettable climax. It is one of the great orchestral works of the last century, and in it Janacek certainly does not make it easy for the players. Simon Rattle and the Philarmonia Orchestra take the bull by the horns, however - they make it all sound effortless, and really seem to be getting down to the heart of the music. A rivetting and spellbinding performance.
If anything, the "Glagolitic Mass" is even more spellbinding. I have to admit I find it a constantly puzzling work: Janacek was an atheist, and surprised many contemporaries with this setting of the Mass in the old Slavic language. It exhibits youthful freshness in its exploration of the words: the "Kyrie" or "Ghospodi pomiluy" is by turns tender and anguished; "Slava" ("Gloria") begins with a wonderful, joyful evocation of what might be a Sunday morning scene with its opening soprano solo and fluttering accompaniment; "Veruju" is an extended Creed setting making full use of dialogue between chorus, soloists and players, punctuated by a recurring motif on the opening word ("I believe"); the "Svet" ("Sanctus") is pure bounce and playfulness, again presenting a melting dialogue between the forces. In "Agnece Bozhe" ("Agnus Dei") Janacek creates some otherworldly orchestral effects as a backdrop to a quietly passionate plea for mercy from the choir, developed into a dark and disturbing discourse by the soloists. Framing the work is a Prelude at the start and Intrada at the end, the one ushering the austereness of the work in from the opening bars whilst the other brings the work to a frantic conclusion. There is also a virtuosic movement for solo organ, reflecting Janacek's skill as an organist (he taught for many years at the Brno Organ School). The whole is a composition of symphonic power and textural poetry, and I find it fascinating and bewildering as a statement of faith from someone that did not believe in God, although he certainly believed in the strength of his native culture and did all he could to preserve it in the music. Here too, Rattle directs with energy, inspiring the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to meet the various challenges head on. It is to my mind a definitive performance, allowing the music to speak clearly for itself. Honourable mention also to the soloists: Felicity Palmer (soprano) and John Mitchinson (tenor) have the hardest parts and their interpretation is stunning, even moving in places despite the obvious strains placed on them - I cannot imagine any singer having an easy time with this piece! Jane Parker-Smith's organ playing is worth mentioning as well - she fits into the orchestral dialogues very smoothly in the "Slava" and "Veruju," and her reading of the difficult solo movement is nothing short of astounding. Strongly recommended to Janacek enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94640f78) out of 5 stars Reclaiming the Altar 27 May 2008
By Gio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Critics have wondered why Leos Janacek, an avowed atheist, wrote a Mass at all, let alone one of his grandest and most original symphonic works, from his late-blooming apotheosis as one of the 20th Century's greatest composers. And why did he choose the Old Church Slavic, as recorded in the Glagolitic script, a language almost unintelligible by ear to modern Czechs and Slovaks except by way of familiarity with ritual? I have no authority for my impressions, but to me this Mass sounds thoroughly pagan, a celebration of some orgiastic pre-Christian rite involving springtime and vistory over the Huns and much consumption of barley brew and barbequed horse-flesh. If that's too subjective, then just get ready for exultant choruses, frenzied instrumental complexities, and ecstatic arias, culminating in an organ solo of drunken splendor and a triumphant "intrada" for a comclusion. Intrada last? Yup. And one has to gape in wonder at whatever it is that's entering.

Janacek is a composer who sounds like no one else, old or new. The closest comparison might be the Stravinsky of The Rite of Spring. The Sinfonietta prepares a new listener for Janacek's distinctively colorful instrumentation and splintered-stalactite rhythms. Then the Glagolitic Mass spills over you like the Moldau in flood. At the risk of attracting quibblers, I'll venture that this strange composition ranks with Mahler's Lied von der Erde and Beethoven's Ninth as monuments of choral symphonies.

The Missa Glagolitica is one of those pieces that need to be performed differently in concert and in recording. The full-throated eruption of voices and instruments is almost too "big" to be digitalized and compressed on a CD; the performances of conductors like Rafael Kubelik are stupendous in concert but distorted and muddy on your best home stereo. They rattle the box. So what to do? Why, Simon Rattle solves the problem with extreme British clarity and precise articulations. Likewise singer Felicity Palmer, reining in the savagery of her solos with British suavity. This is a Glagolitic Mass you can bear to listen to on your speakers.

Some people will feel that too much of Janacek's musical exaltation is sacrificed for clarity. Certainly the language sounds far too polite for Glagolitic, or even modern Czech, and Janacek was fiercely insistent on building his music on the sounds and rhythms of Czech. In that case, by all means choose one of the Kubelik CDs. Myself, I prefer to supply some of the passion from my imagination and to hear the beauty of the music without an aura of acoustic fuzz, and this performance is the one I find most satisfying.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94ef9920) out of 5 stars A more lyrical approach to Janacek's "mass for atheists" 18 May 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Glagolitic Mass is a barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. It still has the power to shock, but once Janacek's fierce idiom sinks in, the shouting chorus, berserk organ obligatto, and spiky Slavic flavor become addictive. To be honest, one performance sounds about the same as another--there have been many fine Czech recordings over the years. I'm not sure that Rattle is preferable to Bernstein, Kubelik, or Chailly, just to mention three big-name conductors who have given us good versions (Chailly's is the most refined, slowest, and least Czech--a Viennese perspective that works).

Rattle's reading tends toward the lyrical, providing unexpectedly tender shading in the opening movement. His tenor and soprano must negotiate high-flying lines that verge on the grotesquerie of Carmina Burana, and they do well, although it's impossible for any singer to keep perfectly in tune. I suppose one could comb through every recording to find the best soloists (many of the Czech versions feature a curdled Slavic tonality), yet the strained vocal lines are true to the rough-hewn nature of the piece. The filler to this ungenerous CD is a good, if smoothed out, reading of the popular Sinfonietta.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97a93b7c) out of 5 stars Stirring 23 Sept. 2008
By dr_sasp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I find that EMI recordings are always of superior quality. This is an excellent recording of one of the best known works by Janacek - arguably, one of the four great Czech composers. Rousing.
HASH(0x9418fda4) out of 5 stars I loved it. 30 Aug. 2014
By John H. Ives - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Captivating, enchanting.
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