One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Missa Solemnis Op 123 [79:57]
Helen Donath (soprano); Doris Soffel (mezzo); Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor); Hans Sotin (bass)
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Georg Solti
rec. live, Royal Albert Hall, London, 10 September 1982
text and English translation included
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0077 [79:57]

There are some musical masterpieces whose essential character is such that a routine, a comfortable or even a generally satisfactory performance is a contradiction of that character. The Missa Solemnis is certainly one of those works. The sense of the composer striving to glimpse the reality behind the words of the Mass must be conveyed to the listener if his vision is to be shared with the listener.

The present performance was given at a Prom in September 1982 at the start of the conductor's final season as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is not however their contribution to this performance that is the memorable aspect of this disc; it is that of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. The fervour and accuracy with which they sing - hurl even, when necessary - the composer's often awkward and unexpected lines at the audience is astonishing. The several much smaller professional choirs who have recorded the work have inevitably equalled and even bettered their accuracy but there is something very special about the sound of a choir of this size in this work that I find remarkably appropriate and moving. Their chorus master, John Currie, deserves a more prominent billing than he receives here for his work in ensuring such a dramatic performance. At the start of the Credo the repetitions of the word convey vividly the desperation of a community determined, willing themselves even, to believe.

Unfortunately the same degree of fervour and conviction is not achieved by the soloists, who are never less than adequate but seldom more. There is a surprising lack of individuality, perhaps due to the need to project to the farthest parts of the Albert Hall. The orchestra play well. Ronald Thomas's violin solo in the Benedictus has the right consolatory tone but the wonderful moment when the first flute appears to personify the Holy Spirit in the Et incarnatus goes for little, mainly due to the recorded balance. It may indeed be that the somewhat matter of fact character of much of the performance is more due to the BBC sound engineers' difficulties with the acoustic of the Hall than to any lack of imagination on the part of the performers. Although I would undoubtedly have loved to have been in the audience for this performance I regret that what is heard here on disc, apart from the astonishing conviction of the singing of the chorus, is not as memorable as might have been expected from performers of this distinction.

John Sheppard

Previous review: John Quinn