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4.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre sound but what a performance, 13 May 2014
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Pompompom (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mozart: Great Mass in C minor K.427 (Audio CD)
Let's get the bad out of the way. Sound is muddy, mushy, distant. This is by no means an audiophile recording, and DG should be ashamed of themselves. Some records from 50 years ago sound 10 times better than this. Ok, that's out of the way, DG's never been known for great sound anyway.

What sets this recording apart is its fervor. Hogwood and Harnoncourt are up there with Lenny musically, or probably sound more like what this piece sounded in Mozart's own time. But when Arleen Auger sings (despite some minor limitations), all the other recordings (including her own) pale in comparison.

Just don't listen to it if you don't want to ruin the others for you.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein's Mozart, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Mozart: Great Mass in C minor K.427 (Audio CD)
A passionate performance of a great work with wonderful soloists. I actually prefer this to the better known Requiem Mass.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lenny in Rome - Yeah!, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: Mozart: Great Mass in C minor K.427 (Audio CD)
Such as I am, I'm intrinsically suspicious of Lenny. There is too much Mahler in his DNA, let alone all that show-tunes stuff. In an unguarded moment, I once heard his Mass: disconsolate and obstreperous, I almost abjured my affiliations to become a nihilist under arms with the Symbionese Liberation Army. Patty Hearst, here I come!

What of this disc? I have resisted it for so long. As I hear it, there's no foppery here. Radical chic is likewise absent. Nor did the Black Panthers bother me once for its duration. Indeed, I was captivated from beginning to end.

Lenny's K618 lacks the inflexions of Colin Davis's account from 1971 but the simplicity of Ave Verum Corpus arguably warrants such an approach.

Considering she was fifty at the time, Arleen Auger sings with amazing freshness in K 165 and the Mass itself - and on the evidence of 11'10" of Exsultate Jubilate she can still soar into the stratosphere. Her embellishments are tasteful. This is enjoyable. For all Auger's merits, however, she does not displace Exsultate Jubilate in my allegiances where the Dutch soprano clearly has a younger voice with more sparkle.

To the Mass. Syncretism is regnant here which is fine by me: this is a religious work which happens to be the Roman Rite. The Qui Tollis for instance, stupendously played, addresses Golgotha and Yom Kippur in equal measure. Lenny conducts with great exuberance and acuity. Joy illuminates the Gloria and opening of the Credo as well it should. The great invocation which is the Iesu Christe, followed by the fugal `Cum Sanctu Spiritu' are grandly but not grandiloquently rendered. The soloists acquit themselves, even if the tenor sounds dangerously like the baritone and none too agreeably at that.

Weighty forces, both orchestral and choral, are in play here. Lenny's musicianship averts them from congealing into soup. Speaking of which, as my buddy DV_F observes, Lenny's K 427 is more naturally balanced than the Karajan alternative: an organ there is! It is also more spring-heeled in comparison and advantageously so.

First impressions count. My introit into Mozart all those years ago was Mass in C minor K427 with the great Ileana Cotrubas. It has been a lodestar through the years. As such, I find it arduous to be semi-objective towards `intruders'. As always, it comes down to the Kyrie. Akin to Abraham, one senses that Cotrubas is actually pleading with the Almighty not to destroy Sodom on account of the one good man in the city. It eludes me here.

This is a welcome riposte to the likes of Jeggy and Corporal Hogwood. In Hoc Signo - by this sign you shall conquer
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Mozart: Great Mass in C minor K.427
Mozart: Great Mass in C minor K.427 by Mozart (Audio CD - 1997)
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