Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
What an incredible rush. So good, it should be banned.
on 3 December 2007
This is a wonderful recording of what must rank as one of the most awesome pieces of music ever written. Personally I can listen to this 3 times in a row, and will have goose pimples all the way through, for 3 hours solid, every time. This music is just so jaw-droppingly, humongously, enormously, epically BIG!!! If this music was a painting it would cover a canvas the size of a football field. If this music was a sculpture it would dwarf the Eifel tower. It is truly incomprehensible. Luckily you don't have to comprehend, it's enough to fasten your seat belt, turn up the volume, and prepare to take leave of planet humdrum for an unforgettable ride.
One remark on this particular recording: some reviewers (e.g. Milan) think this recording compares unfavorably with the Klemperer. I own both recordings, and I strongly disagree. In fact, I bought this recording because the Klemperer recording had given me an inkling that the missa solemnis was a particular gem, but the Klemperer recording was simply not good enough to do it justice. For starters, the Klemperer is not a digital recording, but is done from old, poor quality masters that lack in clarity and depth and sound very flat, like listening to the music through a garden hose. The same certainly cannot be said of this Gardiner recording, which is so sharp and clear that, when you listen to it on a good stereo, you think the orchestra is sitting right next to you (which is half the fun, because it's a BIG orchestra making HUGE music, and they couldn't possibly fit in my little room, but here they all are nevertheless). Furthermore, I am convinced the Klemperer is far too ponderous and slow throughout. This Gardiner recording, in contrast, picks up the pace where appropriate (and here it is often appropriate - the fanfares and crescendos of Christ returning in a blaze of glory can't be done at a ponderous, ambling pace, they've got to ROCK your socks off, and in this recording they most certainly do). I'm sure Ludwig would have approved. Just compare Beethoven's 'Tempest' piano sonata and it is obvious that Ludwig was well into dramatic tempo changes and loved the occasional 'furioso'. Gardiner understood this and makes it happen here. (Unlike Klemperer, who either didn't get it or just couldn't keep up).
In a nutshell, this is a fine interpretation of the biggest, most incredible music on earth. For the price an absolute steal.