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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 31 August 2003
This recording has a clarity and simplicity that makes it the best version of the C Minor Mass I have heard.
For me, the balance between the choir and orchestra is just right. The choir is always clear and you hear every consonant. The best part is the choir even sound as if they are enjoying themselves.
The pace is usually brisk, and never plods along as if it has nowhere else to go. A big plus for me is the orchestra is small enough to not overwhelm the choir or bog itself down with it's own sense of importance.
The opening 'Kyrie' is evocative and joyfull and has me close to tears each time I hear it. If you listen to the Kyrie and then don't want to hear the whole piece, I seriously think there must be something wrong with you!
I enjoy this each time I hear it and thoroughly recommend it.
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on 24 July 2006
When Richard Maunder's editions get together with Christopher Hogwood and co, you know instantly that the result will be spot on.

The sound of the boy treble line (singing alto as well) is earthy yet in tune, and well complemented by the strong lower parts. The orchestra is supportive yet unobtrusive. The dynamics and phrasing are all well chosen and executed. The choice of soloists is inspired, especially Arleen Auger - such a beautiful voice.

It is just a pity that there is not more on the disc - some have argued in the 'Dona ut Kyrie' tradition that an Agnus Dei could be tacked on at the end using the music of the Kyrie.

An excellent recording.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 February 2010
I have a couple of friends with whom, whenever we get together, the topic of the relative merits of Beethoven and Mozart invariably arises. One is a committed Beethoven fan, who professes his affection with a steely glint in his eye, whilst the other tends to go misty eyed and be given over to incoherent muttering of words like `perfection' and `purity, on behalf of Mozart. I myself am ultimately a Beethoven man, being essentially a masochist, rather partial to being slapped about the head with thunderous chords, skewered by ferocious scales, and having my brain warped by teeming counterpoint. All the same, I do find that there are times when only Mozart will do. Furthermore, I find that it is specifically the operas and the big religious works of Mozart that take me to places that are entirely as good but entirely different from anywhere that Ludwig van can (also the violin sonatas, but that's another story).

I have owned this disc for almost twenty years, and have bought it out for a few more spins over the last few weeks, and am reminded all over again just what a jewel of my collection this is. The work moves back and forth between moods of awesome majesty and ineffable joy, with didactic interludes taken up by the soloists mediating between them. The Academy of Ancient Music positively glistens in what I presumed to be a cathedral acoustic until I checked the notes and found this not to be so. The Winchester Cathedral choir is local to me and I have heard them perform and rehearse several times, and one thing I so admire here is that the boys voices are not too sweet as can sometimes happen. But, the real miracle of this recording is that the moments of solemnity, particularly the overwhelming opening Kyrie, manage to be hugely solemn without being the slightest grandiose. The balance between power and humility of spirit is really quite remarkable once you have registered it. The most obvious star of the production, at the fulcrum between orchestra and choir, is the rich, warm soprano of Arleen Auger, on whom most of the pressure in the score is focussed. Her voice lifts a performance, that can clearly be heard to be hugely enjoyable for the massed performers, onto a whole other plane of accomplishment.

The character of the work raises for me intriguing questions about Mozart's own religious attitudes. Was Mozart writing according to formulae he had encountered in the church music with which he grew up and was surrounded, or does it say something about his personal relationship with the divine? We evidently will never really know the full answer to this question. Mozart's letters suggest someone with a practical sense of religious conviction, but who was not particularly patient with the clerical bureaucracy he would have encountered. He also appears to have been resigned to the notion of predestination. Whatever his actual beliefs it is hard not to hear in this work the expression of a sustaining conviction, and one in which the Godhead assumes a quite specific character, blending almost terrifying power with a certain promise of profoundest joy.
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on 18 August 2016
This includes some of my favourite singers such as the soprano, Lynne Dawson and the tenor, John Mark Ainsley, but all singers perform well. Mozart was known to write beautiful melodies for the soprano voice and for me it is the beautiful soprano arias that make this mass so special. In addition, Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music are well suited to this genre of sacred music.
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on 10 March 2012
This is a brilliant recording of a brilliantly played brilliant piece of Music. the Mass in C Minor is not as well known as many other pieces by this composer, but I really recommend this. With the delicate string pieces, the crisp recording of this disc makes it stand out. If you are buying a CD today, buy this one, and if you enjoy it half as much as I did, you will love it !
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Another fab album from that wiz Mozart. A jolly opening which almost makes you want to dance followed by the usual genius which is Mozart's music. This is thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting. the quality fo the CD is excellent and the louder you play it, the better it sounds! I would recommend taking your cd player into a field or waiting til the neighbours are out or better still, sticking it in the car stereo complete with your boom box and go motoring! Better than Prozac
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Mozart leaps forward with his Sacred Music on this recording of the Great Mass in C major, and it is a truly marvellous piece.
This release captures a happy atmosphere with confidence and meditate atmosphere.
The Great Mass in C Minor is recorded by the Acadamy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood. And the Choir of Winchester Cathedral Winchester College quiristers. Arleen Auger is Soprono 1 and Lynn Dawson is Soprono 2. John Mark Ainsley is the tenor and David Thomas is the bass.
Arleen Auger gives a fantastic contribution to this recording that is particularly praisworthy. And the rest of the group are also on good form. Hogwood has direction that is not too particular but he gives us broad phrasing with lively tempos.
However I felt that the sound of the Orchestra is a slight bit thin in the mix in balance to the vocals. But it helps to highlight the vocals in a largely vocal work.
The sound is excellent and the Stereo seperation gives ecclesiastic ambience.
The whole recording is on authentic istruments from the Acadamy of Ancient Music and it is a glorious representation of this work. This will be a great pleasure to those that love Mozart.
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on 25 June 2013
Of all the recordings of this work this performance stands alone. The very beautiful singing of Arleen Auger in "Et incarnatus est" is particularly moving and it is worth having the CD for this alone.
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on 6 March 2011
This Performance is just wonderful, sit back and enjoy! The recording is spot on too and in my humble opinion much better than John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the same work.
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on 22 March 2012
A mediocre production that takes the drama out of Mozart's Great Mass with a surprisingly flat, unexciting delivery. The soloists are distinctly unimpressive. The recording itself is overly bright, lacks lower-mid range and thus depth. There's no soundstage to speak of (most of the sound simply appears to come from a point placed between the speakers), it barely gives an impression of stereo sound.

I strongly recommend Gardiner's version instead of this, also on Amazon. It's a bit more expensive but much better.

(Material auditioned using a Denon CD-player, analogue connection to a Rotel amplifier and Triangle floor standers)
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