One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Coronation Mass, K317 (1779) [25:54]
Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339 (1780) [25:52]
Sandrine Piau (soprano), Renata Pokupić (alto), Benjamin Bruns (tenor), Andreas Wolf (bass)
Insula orchestra/Laurence Equilbey
rec. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Saint-Omer, France, 2016
ERATO 9029 587253 [51:47]

Laurence Equilbey’s superb recording of Mozart’s Requiem set high expectations for more Mozart from her choir, Accentus. Many will be pleased to learn of these performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and the Vesperae solennes de confessore. Unfortunately, the disc is a disappointment.

The problem is with the recording, not the performance. The soloists are placed quite forward, but the choir seems distant. There is lots of welcome orchestral detail, but the choir is hazy and sounds undernourished. Accentus sang lustily enough for Equilbey in her recording of the Requiem, so the problem is not that it is a weak ensemble or has too few singers.

This performance has an appealing rhythmic edge, with incisive orchestral playing. The drums in the Gloria may be a bit overdone for some, but I enjoyed them. The voices are on the operatic side, so this is not a timid church performance. The Agnus Dei is especially lovely.

If the choir had greater presence this would be an excellent version of the Coronation mass, which is music brimming with energy and bouncy enthusiasm. There are many alternatives. I enjoy Helmut Rilling’s performance, which also features a more engaging duet in the Kyrie. And I still cherish Igor Markevitch’s aging version, just to hear the voices of Maria Stader and Ernst Haefliger. DG did a better job capturing this choir over half a century ago than Erato does now.

The Vespers are less soloistic. In LP days of yore, they were routinely the B side to recordings of the Coronation mass, so it is a comfort to find them once more in a supporting role. Apart from the glorious Laudate Dominum, I have too long regarded these Vespers as weaker Mozart – great music if by anyone else, but second-tier for the master. However, Equilbey and her forces persuade me that my judgment was too harsh. They make the Beatus vir dance along splendidly, and the Laudate fugue flows quite appealingly.

Accentus deserves better from Erato. What a pity.

Richard Kraus


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

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: See what you will get

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