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Messe Solennelle Import

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Audio CD, Import, December 25, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 25, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Philips Import
  • ASIN: B000051YD7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Introduction
2. Kyrie
3. Gloria
4. Gratias
5. Quoniam
6. Credo
7. Incarnatus
8. Crucifixus
9. Resurrexit (Original Version)
10. Motet Pour L'offertoire
11. Sanctus
12. O Salutaris
13. Agnus Dei
14. Domine, Salvum
15. Resurrexit (Revised Version)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bob Zeidler on December 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Two hundred years ago this week, Louis-Hector Berlioz was born. This, then, is a time for me to comment on a few of my favorite performances of his works, some of them "favorites by acclamation" and others simply those in which I find special merit, enough so that they are frequently in my CD players.

Never mind that Hector Berlioz destroyed this student work. It is our good fortune that a copy of the manuscript survived these efforts, and moreover ended up in the hands of John Eliot Gardiner, who directs his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Montiverdi Choir plus soloists in this premiere recording.

Seemingly because of its central importance in better understanding the Berlioz canon of works - as well as its splendid recorded sound that captures the excitement of the performance - this premiere recording of the Messe Solennelle has now been deemed worthy to be rereleased as a member of the distinguished "Philips 50" series of historically important recordings by the Philips label.

The story of the discovery of the manuscript, believed - or at least hoped - by Berlioz to have been destroyed, is very well set out in the comprehensive booklet notes, as are Gardiner's comments on the work and "getting it to work."

This is truly "Hector in the raw," the work of a 20-year-old Paris Conservatory student barely trained in the essentials (a burden he would carry around, on and off, throughout his life, thanks to his critics, not to mention his own proclivities toward writing music having few if any harmonic or rhythmic antecedents and which others couldn't fathom).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Stephens on October 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Even when he abandoned (though he said he "destroyed") this work, Berlioz knew that it was pregnant with possibilities. We know that he admired this older material because he used so much of it in other works. From this work alone we get themes later heard in the Symphonie Fantastique, the Requiem, Te Deum, and Benvenuto Cellini.

One of the reasons this early choral of work of Hector's works so well, and is enjoyable today is the reason that makes all his works interesting: the guy was not interested in mere "filler" to fix his structure. He poured all his creativty (the imagination of a Nineteen year old!) into this work. The sections are all fairly short and to the point...there is almost no meandering musical themes for the sake of structure. Some of the opening sections however, can be a little grating. The openings to the "Credo" and "Crucifixus" are a little awkward.

But taken as a whole, this is one amazing work. This is possibly the single best work from a major composer written in his/her young years, with the exception of Shostakovich's 1st symphony. Mozart doesn't count because he is a special case.

Berlioz's early masterpiece is more colourful than most Masses by other composers, more interesting, and a whole lot more enjoyable. Fully recommended.

P.S....don't worry about the fact that this music contains themes from several of his other works. You'll be so enchanted that you won't mind.
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Format: Audio CD
British conductors have been important in re-establishing Berlioz in the public's consciousness as a great composer and while I have not always been unstinting in my praise for the work of John Eliot Gardiner, I am happy to heap praise upon him for this, still the premier recording of this youthful work twenty years on. There have been a few others, including one in Washington Cathedral and two live recordings by Muti but the first was in fact on the 5th October 1993 in the Vézelay basilica, two days after Gardiner performed this for the first time since 1827 in St Petri, Bremen. Thus Philips is being a tad disingenuous marketing this as a "World Premiere Recording", as they were beaten to it by a week, but they are correct in marketing it as the first recording made under "studio" conditions, even if it was in fact made in Westminster Cathedral, which provides an ideal acoustic thanks to good engineering.

None of this much matters, I suppose; let's simply welcome the re-emergence of this fascinating music. No-one is a greater fan of Berlioz than I; his music has always struck a chord with me in a way that I know eludes some music-lovers, but I think previous reviewers have rather gone overboard in praising this as a "youthful masterpiece". Berlioz knew what he was doing when he jettisoned it and although I am glad to hear the piece it really is a bit disjointed despite its incidental beauties. It is in fact impossible for the seasoned Berlioz lover to listen this recording without tune-spotting and it is certainly true that Berlioz demonstrated excellent judgement in his selection of what to recycle in later, greater works.
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