on 20 May 2012
This conductor has always turned up with interesting and highly recommendable recordings. Whether conducting Smetana's Ma Vlast, Strauss' Alpine Symphony or Mahler's 8th on Naxos he seems to find the right atmosphere, pacing and sound.
This recording is no exception. The orchestra injects considerable energy, freely and flexibly conducted by Wit. Yes the springlike freshness of so much of the string writing comes across in spades. The clarity of the recording and excellent acoustic handling really allow the performance to literally shine forth. All soloists are really excellent and the chorus is trult magnificent. This is a fine body of singers, incisive, well-tuned and alert to the text.
Needless the say the Sinfonietta smashes out of the speakers with tremendous power. Each movement is alive with colour and energy.
This is highly recommended. More Earthy than Chailly, better played and sung that Rattle, more colourful than Tilson-Thomas and just as idiomatic as Mackerras.
on 13 May 2013
I was 47 before I heard The Glagolitic Mass - at the Proms.Shame on me. It is an absolute knock out if you prefer a bit of grit in your classical music diet. Coupled here with the well known Sinfonietta. In the last 25 years or so I have heard as many performances of the Glagolitic as I have been able and there are one or two better than this on record, though the very best are those which began life in live (broadcast/recorded) performance.
This Naxos disc is astonishingly good value and like the works is gripping. A bit like the composer himself. His method is to get hold of you by the throat within a few seconds of the start and not relax his grip until the last chord.
Don't wait as long as I did before experiencing this work.There is no need to be fluent in Old Church Slavonic in which the work is sung.. You'll get the message without understanding a word !
on 24 July 2013
I agree with other reviewers that Antoni Wit is a remarkably underrated conductor who rarely puts in a performance that is short of very good: This recording is no exception. The sound engineering is generally excellent too though I do find the brass a little recessed at some key points.
The playing has that open air freshness that you long for in Janacek's late masterpieces but, if anything the brass sound a little too polished and refined. The final movement of the Glagolitic Mass is usually one of the most visceral and exciting pieces of music with brass instruments seemingly tumbling over each other in a dance of celebration: here it's a little too polite and some of the brass is sounds too distant. The choir, in particular,
and the soloists are exceptional and I admit that complaining about a section of the orchestra sounding too polished might sound a tad perverse
So overall this is an excellent recording but the minor issues are just enough are enough to prevent this being the stand out choice: you can't go wrong with Mackerras of course, but my favourite performance of the Glagolitic Mass is an old mono recording by a pupil of Janacek's Bretislav Bakala.
This new Naxos recording is still a very fine version but just misses top marks at the margins. OK my first repsonse was a bit mean; maybe it's not the top choice but itstill deserves five stars.
on 7 April 2013
If you haven't heard the Glagolitic Mass, but have only heard, say, the magnificent Sinfonietta, you must try this. It is a Mass such as you have never heard before. Tremendously excitng orchestral, choral and organ composing. This performance and recording are well up to the standards of many others conducted by Antoni Wit.