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Beautifully played but the composition falls apart into to the chunks from which it was assembled.
on 2 August 2016
I am sorry to have to say that I was disappointed with Richter's B minor mass.
Bach assembled (from existing compositions) this mass rather than composing it and this performance revealed all too clearly this process of assemblage. Somehow or other, current chefs d'orchestre like Philippe Herreweghe manage to make the mass sound as if it is one unified whole, not an assembly made for a particular purpose (i.e. a CV for Mr Bach).
How do modern conductors make it sound like one composition? At the moment I do not know but I will work on it this year.
Could Richter's problem be that he was a very accurate and precise musician who played the music like the composer wrote it? And could modern conductors know how to distort what Bach wrote in order to make it sound like an integral whole? A modern exception is Steven Cleobury who, like Richter, disintegrates his Bach into its component origins, thereby ruining it in the process.
I have no answers to these questions but I expect to be able to provide sensible answers within a few months.