12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2014
Over the years I have been fortunate to see a number of concerts featuring Beethoven's wonderful "Missa Solemnis" sometimes in the concert-hall, but I always prefer the true setting of a cathedral or church - it was, after all, originally composed to be performed in Cologne Cathedral. Once, I was lucky enough to be present at Guilini conducting the "Missa Solemnis" in St Paul's Cathedral - memorable. But for a recording studio interpretation I return time and time again to Otto Klemperer's magisterial interpretaion on EMI with the New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus. The whole work is wonderful to listen to with a grandeur about the choral passages, strength and beauty from the soloists, with the lightest of touches which make for a true mystery during the Credo in the section 'et incarnatus est'.
And then I bought this new recording by John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique.
Although this recording was recorded live at the Barbican Hall, there is no audience to be aware of. The scale might not have the depth of sound from Klemperer or, for that matter, other studio or live recordings where vast numbers of artists have played or sung, but it has a different intimacy which offers a new intensity. Whilst others may review this recording with a far greater and more knowledgeable exposition on the musical interpretation, all I can say is that this is one of the most eloquent and beautiful interpretations I can imagine recorded. It is simply beauitful to listen to and let Beethoven's music take you to the heavens and back.
Buy this CD, unplug the 'phone, close the curtains, turn the lights off, don't answer the door - and listen to the most glorious music ever set down by any composer in one of the finest recordings.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
For anyone who admired Gardiner's 1990 recording of the Missa Solemnis, this latest recording will surely not disappoint. The many recent performances have culminated in an even more thoughtful, more convincing reading of Beethoven's glorious masterpiece. This is a perceptive interpretation superbly performed, and recorded. As with his performances of the great Bach religious works, Gardiner has produced a recording that should prove to be a joy for Christian believers and atheists alike. In whatever way one may respond to the text of the Mass, the music exemplifies the humanity of its composer. The new recording gives the impression of being more expansively paced than its predecessor despite in fact being over a minute quicker (only the Credo being longer, by half a minute).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
John Eliot Gardiner never ceases to amaze. Though some of his recent recordings have critically up speed tempo's and border on virtuoso music making instead of a more modest approach to the scores, this recording has it all: monumental, breathtaking, inspiring, touching: both his first recording and this new one of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis are absolutely without match: fantastic!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Gardiner's first recording for Archiv won both the Gramophone Award for choral and for the Record of the Year. This new SDG one is up there with it. Like much of the SDG stuff, it's a live recording (with a dead audience? I wonder). The Missa Solemnis, pairing the words of the Latin Mass with Beethoven's symphonic concept, is like no mass you've ever heard - it is a titanic creation, full of mighty, powerful and often brutal moments, and a very Beethovian way of looking at things. The Agnus Dei, with its plea for peace (in the sense of the absence of war, as opposed to spiritual peace) is very different from anyone else's, but the whole thing ends almost with a whimper rather than a bang. Gardiner delivers a stirring version of a relatively rarely heard but mighty work.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2013
Beethoven, Gardiner and Monteverdi combine to give us an experience of musical bliss and transcendence. Highly recommended. Such a performance gives us hope in a somewhat dismal world.