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Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
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Audio CD, 13 Nov 2015
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Product details

  • Performer: Monteverdi Choir
  • Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (13 Nov. 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: SDG
  • ASIN: B0159IR5WS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,964 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Digital Booklet: J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
Digital Booklet: J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
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Product description

Product Description

The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists are renowned of their spectacular performances of Bach's epic masterpiece, which they have toured extensively. During their last tour (in Munich, Frankfurt, Lucerne, Aix-en-Provence and Paris) there was a stampede for tickets and they performed every night in full houses, to spellbound audiences. This album is the culmination of the tour: it was recorded in an open session in London, and captures the special atmosphere of the concerts. It is presented in a 2-CD casebook and contains a booklet featuring original notes by John Eliot Gardiner translated in English, German and French.

Review

This could easily have been the shortest review that I have ever written: this is as perfect as it gets this side of what Sir John Eliot Gardiner calls Music in the Castle of Heaven, the title of his 2013 book on the music of Bach, excerpts from which are included in the booklet with the new recording. If you have hesitated to go for one of the existing recordings of this wonderful work, fear not to launch away. MusicWeb, Dec'15 /// Its 30 years since Joh Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir first recorded the B Minor Mass. How times change. Few then could predict that the minimalist approach to Bach would turn mainstream, and even if Gardiner has no intention of going down that route something has rubbed off. Without compromising the monumentality of the work, he finds an intimacy too. Performance ***** Recording ****.BBC Music Magazine, Feb'16 /// Gardiner's latest thoughts on performing the B minor Mass are an important contribution to the discography of this inexhaustible masterpiece. --Music Web, Jan'16

John Eliot Gardiner's 1985 B Minor Mass still sounds good, a perfect marriage of smart period practice and theatrical nous. Modern instrument performances can feel impossibly bloated and stodgy. Gardiner's forces dance, but lack nothing in weight. This new version was taped in March 2015. The named forces are the same, though the personnel have changed considerably over 30 years. The newer set's closer recorded balance isn't entirely in its favour, and there's an occasional edginess and harshness to the sound; Anneke Scott's spectacular horn obligato in the Quoniam tu solus sanctus doesn't bloom as it should. There's an urgency and drive to the faster numbers which may surprise; you expect conductors to slow down with age. Cum Sancto Spiritu is indecently exciting. The vocal lines during the fugal writing are wonderfully clear, though I prefer the joyous bounce of the earlier version. Gardiner's soloists, drawn from the ranks of the Monteverdi Choir, don't disappoint. Soprano Esther Brazil's Qui sedes ad dextram Patris is a delight, as is the pairing of Hannah Morrison and Meg Bragle in the duet Et in unum Dominum . The quieter moments are the ones to treasure: the soft closing cadence of the Crucifixus is sublime. All very decent I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by Gardiner's Donna nobis pacem . ARTSDESK, 5/12/15. /// Thirty years on , Gardiner's take on the mass is if anything more exuberant, more joyful than his famous arhiv reading: all concerned see, to share this vision , especially the soloists who step forward from the choir. Textures are all crystal clear, part in thanks to a superbly natural , warm recording. Essential listening. ***** EDITORS CHOICE --Classical Music Magazine, Jan'16

From the outset here, Gardiner's meticulous grasp of the detail and architecture in tandem is almost terrifyingly auspicious. This High Mass joins a distinguished discography at high table. GRAMOPHONE EDITORS CHOICE. Gramophone, Dec'15 /// John Eliot Gardiner's programme notes reveal penetrating insights into the conductor's vision of one of the great landmarks of western sacred music. Mankind is central to Gardiner's interpretation, which is rooted in his understanding of Bach's self-fashioning through music, of the composer's apparent doubts about eternal salvation and his ceaseless striving for divine perfection in sound. The commitment and energy of this performance, present not least in countless details of articulation, phrasing and texture, stand here for the highest human aspirations. Listen, for example, to the Quoniam intense in focus and sung with priest-like solemnity by David Shipley and its transition into a breath-taking celebration of instrumental and choral virtuosity in the Cum Sancto Spiritu fugue. The message is clear: this is the best of what we as human beings can achieve. Gardiner's reading projects a strong sense of time's passing, marked by the incisiveness of his metronomic beat and the military precision of the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. **** --Sinfini Music, 13/1/16


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