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4.1 out of 5 stars7
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2013
Puccini, born 1858, composed his "Messa di Gloria" in 1880, when he was aged 21 (the "Credo" had been already composed and performed as an autonomous piece in 1878), but this really beautiful work is not characterized only by a fresh, instinctive and sincere religious feeling.
The main feature is, in my opinion, a general sense of high nobleness and elegance, joined to an innate theatrical approach.

Everybody knows that Giacomo came from a family strictly connected for generations to music and, in particular, to the role of "Maestro di Cappella" of the "Duomo di Lucca", where he, aged 14, played the organ. Surely, the familiarity with the church music idiom helped Puccini while composing this work. But, obviously, it does not explain the originality of this masterpiece.

In my opinion, the fact that Puccini came from a traditional musical little world allows this composition to better highlight his exceptional and truly talented musicality and originality.
This is a truly Puccinian work and in it we can easily recognize the seeds of what will later plentifully mature in the operatic field.

But, as I have already underscored, here we do not meet a "green" work, but a completely satisfying and involving masterwork. The only youngish fault is a sort of unbalance among the weights of the five sections, from which comes a bit of lack of unitarity that affects the composition.

The composition is great, but its performance here is really outstanding.
This issue presents a couple of marvelous soloists, José Carreras (b. 1946) and Hermann Prey (1929-1998), who further embellish the work with their voices and heartfelt interpretations.
The Ambrosian Singers, as usual, are simply perfect. The Philharmonia Orchestra is attentive, precise and involved.
Claudio Scimone (b. 1934) - usually steadily associated with a different epoch repertory - here reveals an unexpected, for me, true Puccinian vein and his conducting results really idiomatic.

The 1984 DDD sound is excellent, pure and airy.

The CD is generously filled up with two minor, but really interesting, Puccini's works: the "Preludio Sinfonico", composed in 1876, and the "Capriccio Sinfonico", composed in 1883, both praiseworthily reconstituted and revised by Pietro Spada.
As in the case of the Messa, here you will find many features of the later Puccini. The "Capriccio" anticipates many themes we will meet in "La Bohème".

Here Claudio Scimone conducts the Orchestre National de l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo in a very fine and idiomatic performance.

The ADD 1974 and 1978 sound is anyway very good, vivid, clean and warm.

The very thin booklet contains only a brief, but interesting, article in English, German and French.
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I confess that I am only reviewing the main work on this recording, the Messa di Gloria, but having the other works make for an attractive bonus.

Messa di Gloria does not bear all of Puccini's mature skills as a composer (the choral and orchestral writing is more reminiscent of Verdi or Gounod), it is still an attractive work to listen to. Don't expect too much in the way of profundity or polished appreciation of structure - it rather fizzles out at the end.

I can't imagine a better performance. The Italian conductor, Claudio Scimone (perhaps not well known in Britain but very well thought of in Italy) conducts a British orchestra and choir who do a marvellous job. The two vocal soloists, Jose Carreras and Hermann Prey, are superb. I love their voices although I do think that Carreras takes a few more liberties with note values and rubati than I would personally prefer (Prey is more literal).

I had great fun listening to this recording.
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on 31 January 2016
Excellent recording !
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on 1 November 2011
Excellent recording and really good value for money. It is most useful as my choral society is performing the Messa Gloria this Autumn.
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on 16 February 2012
This particular recording is fine. However, the music itself, I feel, lacks the excitement and vitality of much other of Puccinni's compositions. The complex fugue section is very satisfying to sing particularly because it is very challenging for an amatuer choir.
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on 3 February 2013
My dad asked me to get this for him and was pleased with it. I have not listened to it myself so can't really say much more!
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on 19 January 2015
I'm not quite sure what the person requesting the CD sees in it but she seems pleased enough
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