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From having zero dvds of this piece I ordered the Thielemann concert in a beautiful concert hall from 2010 and the Fabio Luisi one from 2005 filmed at the official opening in the Frauenkirche in Dresden.
Oddly the one from the Frauenkirche is the most authentic concert of the two because it includes applause, and the one from the concert hall is very solemn, slightly pretentious in this regard, and ends with the audience standing silently in homage to the fire bombing of Dresden during WW2. The Frauenkirche might have been the more appropriate place for such reverence.
But there is nothing to complain about in the camera work in either 2005 or 2010. The Unitel from 2010 with Thielemann is fascinating to watch. It is mind-boggling to imagine the coordination of the film team to manage so many cuts and angles and close-ups in a live event without a single camera ever being visible on screen. The work for Luisi's version is equally flawless and beautiful. Thielemann's concert hall is very classical and elegant, Luisi's Frauenkirche setting is joyously baroque and heavenly to behold.. So these two films are quite different and compliment one another very nicely.
Thielemann and Luisi are two of the greatest conductors out there right now. Thielemann eschews baton and score and stands there uninhibited by any incumbrance. His masterful knowledge of the score is evident before the music begins.Read more ›
PLEASE understand that my following review is on THIELEMANN's Missa, NOT on Harnoncourt's. Do correct this silly mistake.
Dear readers, in lieu of a better solution, please scroll down for my thoughts on Nikolaus Harnoncourt's recording. Thank you.
Christian Thielemann has just given us his remarkable set of Beethoven symphonies on DVD. With his new orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, a quartet of very good soloists and the outstanding Sächsischer Staatsopernchor he now presents what I see as the logical and transcendental summation of all of Beethoven's works: the Missa Solemnis. The DVD competition is stiff. There is Bernstein's inimitable 1978 rendition in still acceptable sound and film, a very special interpretation by Michael Gielen (1986, nla), my long-time favorite, Sir Gilbert Levine's deeply felt and impressive reading and, finally, Fabio Luisi's recording (both 2005) with the same orchestral and choral forces as Thielemann's. The latter two certainly invite comparison: a comparison from which I'll refrain, because I can not quite warm up to Luisi's reading for purely subjective reasons. Thieleman and his excellent ensemble shine in every respect. Tempi are deliberate, as could be expected, but never drag. Despite the very large number of musicians in attendance, Thielemann keeps the sound stage as transparent and detailed as possible: this is one of his trademarks as a conductor. Without baton, he shapes every phrase, every motif to perfection, never losing his grip on the incredibly long thematic lines and on the whole beauty of this monumental edifice.Read more ›
The concert also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Semperoper's reopening. International dignitaries in attendance included Mikhail Gorbachev (on whom the camera rests for a few moments as the orchestra tunes up), who had led the way to German reunification and who was honored the next day with the Dresden Peace Prize.
Heightening the stakes of the event, Thielemann was stepping onto this worldwide platform after having just been elected as the Staatskapelle's new principal conductor.
Massive choral and instrumental forces were assembled, including four of the world's outstanding soloists -- soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano El'na Garan'a, tenor Michael Schade, and bass Franz-Josef Selig.
It was, indeed, no ordinary occasion. It was observed with no ordinary performance, which was met with no ordinary reaction from the assembled audience. Fortunately, the proceedings were recorded by Unitel Classica in the highest quality video and audio and issued on Blu-ray by C Major.
Thielemann presided over this most monumental of Beethoven compositions with impressive composure, conducting with no score, no baton, calling no attention to himself. Only once, midway through the concluding Agnus Dei -- after nearly 80 minutes of intense concentration -- did I sense a slight loosening of control over the complex counterpoint, soon restored.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This joins the very select ranks of worthwhile performances of this mighty masterwork in the video medium. Read morePublished on November 27, 2013 by James A. Altena
“I love it", BUT…... The 5 stars are strictly for the outstanding performances by singers, playing of orchestras, and sound quality of the CD. Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Maurice Cagnon
My thanks to a reader who has found this review wrongly listed by Amazon under the disc by Harnoncourt as well as being correctly listed under Thielemann's... Read more
This review pertains to the Blueray recording by the Staatskappelle of Dresden, conducted by Christian Thielemann. What a great disappointment!!!! Read morePublished on May 9, 2012 by Joseph Falotico