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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREATEST !!!, 21 Jun 2010
Chirotteri (Ulysses' Riviera, Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bach - Mass in B minor (Audio CD)
From first listening I was not just impressed, but totally catched. I had to sit and listen, and listen, and listen.. Top of the tops the soloists, with apex Andreas Scholl in Agnus dei.
Sound warm and introspective, great for meditative listeners.
This edition is not cheap, but the booklet is nice and with interesting informations about Bach and Mass. If you love Bach's Mass in B minor this record is strongly recommended.
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 37, 18 April 2012
This review is from: Bach - Mass in B minor (Audio CD)
"Come in, come in ," Ernst Hogwood Blofeld snapped at his guest. Number 5, Rene Jacobs, looking dumpier than usual, tumbled into a chair. With the Karajan-proof blast-door closed behind them, the head of SPECTRE (Sinister Period-Practice Enacted to Counter Traditional Readings Everlastingly) pushed the button of a device that emitted a high-pitch signal.

"So you wanted to see me boss?" the Belgian yapped.

"Thanks for coming all this way to the hollowed-out volcano! What I am about to tell you is top-secret," Number One hissed conspiratorially. "If you blab it to anyone, Alessandro Moreschi will no longer be the last castrato in history. Do you understand? You discuss it with me and me alone!"

Jacobs nodded his head vigorously though it was clear that his attention was elsewhere. Hogwood-Blofeld lowered his voice.

"We have just received some hard intell from our Berlin Station. Number 7 - Sir Simon Rattle - has been romantically involved with a Czech mezzo. She has confirmed what I've suspected for years: we have a mole from Universal Imports in the upper ranks here at SPECTRE!"

He pointed to a nearby screen: a quartet of images materialised.

"I have four suspects: Koopman - Tinker; Christie - Tailor; Harnoncourt - Soldier. We'll drop Sailor: it's too close to Tailor. Norrington is . . . Beggarman. One of them is our mole. You know what SPECTRE stands for: miniaturised bloodless performances of masterworks, eked out by scratchy ensembles with no feel for grandeur and where the vitality has been leeched away by clipped phrasing. Someone in this organisation is undermining the cause!"

"That's awful, Number One!" Jacobs shrieked in falsetto.

"This threat to SPECTRE must be eliminated at once. Subtlety is required. If I myself preside over a witch-hunt, so to speak, the element of surprise will be lost and the mole could burrow further underground. As for you, Rene, you don't exactly look like that special agent from Universal Imports. You have a better chance of catching the mole off-guard. You won't be making any more of those anaemic recordings with Harmonia Mundi - forget them! Henceforth, you are assigned to this case until the Mole has been identified."

"The main question, chief, I have is this," Jacobs replied tensely. "Do you know when the cafeteria closes? And do they accept the SPECTRE discount card?"

"Do I know when the cafeteria closes . . . . . ." Number One rumbled to himself.

"Sorry I meant to say - hang on, let me explain myself! Ooophs! Ummmh . . . . . that's where the rank and file of SPECTRE meet every lunch-time! The Mole is sure to be there! Perhaps I can overhear something!"

"Just get that blubbery backside of yours on the case!"

Rene Jacobs spent the next few days hiding behind curtains, sneaking up on his colleagues and rummaging through rubbish-bins. Some would question why he made the cafeteria his centre of operations but the meringues on offer certainly helped to clarify his thoughts. Even so, the Mole remained elusive. Towards the end of the week, Jacobs was lurching down one of the corridors when he heard excerpts from the Mass in B Minor. It entranced him. Sure, it was at authorised pitch but that's about all it had in common with the ideals of SPECTRE. It was sonorous. It was spiritual (the middle movement of the Kyrie was genuinely penitential). It was life-enhancing, not least in the exaltation of the opening movement of the Gloria and the Cum Sanctu Spiritu. It paid homage to the innate grandeur (the Sanctus may not be the last word in splendour but it is energetic enough) and mysticism (the Et Incarnatus est is magical) of the work. The recording itself was somewhat awash in a resonant acoustic but not to the point where the performance was impaired (the strings fare the worst). Jacobs recognised the voices of Veronica Gens and Christopher Prégardien: their artistry added to the attractions of the performance. Questions started to arise in Jacob's minds: questions, questions, questions. But then he heard Andreas Scholl in the Agnus Dei - SPECTRE actively promotes the use of counter-tenors, no matter how moggy-like they sound - and those questions congealed no further. For the next few minutes, Jacobs was in clover as the German counter-tenor whined away - meow!

A door opened and Philip Herreweghe popped his head out.

"Oh, hi Rene! What's up?"

Number 5 stared back with his mouth open. A response was not forthcoming

"It's Happy Hour at the Cafeteria. Hurry along!"

This advice was acted upon with alacrity. Before closing the door, Herreweghe scanned both ends of the corridor. He was alone.
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