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Harnoncourt Beethoven and Berlioz,
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This review is from: Beethoven: Missa Solemnis [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
This is now the most recent version of Beethoven's greatest Meisterwerk and is outstanding in its interpretation of tempi. Heavily influenced by adagio/andante(especially in the Kyrie and Agnus Dei)which I consider to be the best for sacred works, the full depth of meaning and emotion is delved par excellence to extract the essence of the work in which the composer pleads for God's Peace in the Universe. I would not like to say if it's the "last word" in tempi contextual to the work.When Harnoncourt sits down twice firstly at the end of the Gloria and then the Credo, its almost as if a subliminal message is being transmitted in an exquisite brand of indecipherable, musical morse code which the tempi taps out with resonance even in the silence. Compared to the other recent, excellent dvd versions at the Frauenkirche, Semperoper and the Calouste Gulbenkian, the soloists,including the violinist in the Benedictus, deliver dynamic yet understated performance to complement the rebalancing of the tempi and re-promoting innovatively the choral and orchestral gradations providing the work crucially with more space to "breathe". The coordination is exemplary and given the complexity of the fugues, astounding. The Et Vitam Venturi, in particular, gets a measured emphasis needed. There is, however, one major defect that is a repeat of the Calouste Gulbenkian version where, in the apposite movements of the Sanctus, the chorus is omitted in favour of the soloists. The Sanctus is about the heavenly hosts descending(Christ's expectation on the cross) the chorus are indispensable for those apposite movements. This otherwise excellent interpretation has also persuaded me that if and when Berlioz's Chez D'Oeuvre ,Grande Messe Des Morts Requiem gets its 21st Century,dvd treatment, the choice of conductor is clear.