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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Import

34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, February 19, 1991
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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis + Beethoven: Messe in C + Bach: Mass in B minor
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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John Eliot Gardiner's interpretation of the Missa Solemnis stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of his career and one of the most impressive achievements of the period-instrument movement. The concept is grand and powerful, lively though not unduly brisk. The execution is simply electrifying: Gardiner has the orchestra on the edge of their seats, the chorus going all-out, and sparks flying everywhere. Excellent singing from the soloists and a vivid recording complete the triumph, and it's all on a single disc. --Ted Libbey


Product Details

  • Performer: Charlotte Margiono, Catherine Robbin, Monteverdi Choir, William Kendall, Alastair Miles
  • Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (February 19, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Archiv
  • ASIN: B0000057DP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,138 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This piece and this recording are simply astounding. It's big, heavy, sweaty, pining Beethoven with the added bonus of complexity. Not that this is a bad thing, but this piece is paticularly hard to get one's musical mind around, which probably explains why it's not as popular as some of his archetypal symphonies (5th, 6th, 9th). Unlike some of Beethoven's more overtly thematic work, this one needs to sink in slowly and settle in a comfortable spot in the psyche until it unleashes it's full spectrum of power, beauty, and richness.
Part of the issue is that the piece was written over a number of years (1819-1823); enough years for Beethoven to develop in substantial ways. Consequently, the earlier movements have a different character than the later ones. But wait there's more: Beethoven also originally conceived this project (at least, according to a few sources) as a more traditional religious piece - he apparentely studied church music history with a vengeance, and this study manifests itself throughout the Mass. The goals apparently changed through the years, since the Kyrie and the Gloria have a more - relatively - traditional, classical feel to them, and the later movements are more moody and romantic (contrast the Gloria to the Sanctus and the differences stick out like escargot in a burger joint).
Partly for the reasons above, and partly due to the length of each individual section (the Kyrie is the shortest at just under 9 minutes, and the Credo is the longest at just over 17 minutes) this piece seems best ingested and approached one section at a time, rather than as one big lump sum total.
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94 of 111 people found the following review helpful By J. Luis Juarez Echenique on December 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The GRAMOPHONE went over the board to praise this recording giving it the Record of the Year Award. Well, we all know the English love each other... Sir John's performance is rather martial, certainly well rehearsed and very well played, but it just lacks the ultimate in humanity to make it really moving. The Missa Solemnis has been lucky lately. Nikolaus Harnoncourt's recording in TELDEC is even more poignant and moving than Gardiner's, but played with modern instruments. James Levine surprised everyone with his extraordinary live Salzburg recording, this is not yet another glossy DG affair, but a serious, deeply felt reading. But best of all, another live recording, comes from Harmonia Mundi. Philippe Herreweghe is one of the most spiritual and interesting conductors of our Time, raised in Bach and in Renaissance music, he has an extraordinary feeling for choral works, and his loving, enormous performance, raises like a great Cathedral to the skies. This is by far the most beautiful and moving Missa Solemnis ever recorded.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I agree with those who find this one of Gardiner's more convincing recordings, and one of his most influential outside the Baroque period. It was startling when it first came out to find that the Missa Solemnis could take only 71 min. instead of the usual 79 min. (Klemperer) or 83 min. (Karajan on EMI). Now the slower traditional tempos can sound a bit logy.

Critical reaction, especially in the UK, was wildly enthusiastic on the musical side, and The Gramophne bestowed honors. In retrospect, Gardiner's driving pace and clipped rhythms exchanged eloquence for dynamism, reverence for immediate impact. But that has been his pattern in Bach, too, so if you want period-style trimness and a complete lack of traditional spiritual grandeur, this recording is better sung than the equally fast Missa Solemnis from Zinman (Arte Nova). Gardiner's choir is expert and gives a nice clarity to both words and notes. The solo quartet is surprisingly good given that it contains no stars, but one should be warned that the recording is screechy and harsh in climaxes.

P.S. -- I should steer listeners toward a far more inspired HIP version of the Missa Solemnis under Philippe Herreweghe, a recording I was unaware of when writing this review.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John on September 10, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The Missa Solemnis sunk into my head slowly, which I've found to be the case with many other things that are near to my heart. That being said, it has been two years since I first heard Gardiner's Missa. And for all this time, it has been the CD that I play in my car from the time I insert the key to the time I remove it. Why? Because no matter how much you listen to this absolutely wonderful recording, there always seems to be more to love. You can thank Beethoven for this. It took years for him to complete the score, and he himself considered it his greatest masterpiece (I agree). You can also thank Gardiner, who has brought out texture in the work that I'm sure many will never know existed if they never hear this recording. Gardiner uses a small group of highly trained singers. The beauty of the work is seered into your memory with crisp precision.
I can not recommend this recording more highly and would enjoy hearing from anyone who is considering purchasing it.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Juan Carlos Garelli on November 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I find this version to be quite in accord to Beethoven's emphasis on PEACE. Sir Eliot Gardiner becomes so imbued of the appeal to peace implicit in this monumental composition that he leaves any wish of personal acclaim to focus on the essentials of Beethoven's deeply felt beseech for a European Peace. So badly needed at the time.
Much has been written about this monumental work of the maestro; much has been argued about its status as a true liturgy work for the church or its profane character; Even more has been speculated about Ludwig's actual religious feelings.
Facts have it that the Mass was written for use in church: it was composed for the installation of Beethoven's friend Archduke Rudolf as Cardinal-Archbishop of Olomouc. In early 1819 Beethoven wrote: "The day on which a High Mass composed by me is performed during the celebrations for Your Imperial Highness will be the finest day of my life, and God will inspire me so that my poor abilities may contribute to the glorification of this solemn day." Solemn, humble, words, no doubt, which witty Ludwig had long proved possessed both the timing and the rhetoric to proffer.
On the other hand, we know that Beethoven was particularly anxious to perform this work in Vienna, at least in part. As there was a strict prohibition against performing even parts of the Mass in a secular context, he gave these parts a German text. So parts of the Mass did make it to the concert hall, for example on the same day as the first performance of his Ninth Symphony.
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