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While critics at the 1971 premiere found the work derivative and even tasteless, audiences loved this ardent, resourceful, somewhat brazen, ultimately moving Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers. Leonard Bernstein's affinity for his public and for the age in which he lived enabled him to successfully outfit his Mass with a stylish mix of contemporary and ancient modes--rock, jazz, electronic music, Gregorian chant--and place it in a context somewhere between Broadway and opera. Though it lacks the visual component of a live performance, the work holds up well on this Bernstein-led recording, the only complete version on disc. From the popular "Simple Song" to the Stravinskian rhythmic devices and abundant, memorable melodies, the vital creative force of Bernstein is never absent. --David Vernier
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It's great to have the CD in addition to the mp3 version. The mp3 version is choppy because of the silence between tracks. On the CD, even though there are separate tracks, one number flows right into the next like it is supposed to.
When I first had a copy of this recording I was disappointed with Alan Titus as the Celebrant because I preferred Michael Hume's performance, since that is what I was familiar with from the Spokane production. This time around, I don't remember the other and I love Alan Titus's performance. I wish there was a video because there's so much I don't remember about the visual theater part of Mass. Even so, I am thoroughly enjoying listening to all this great music!