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Mass in B Minor/BWV 232

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 13, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Philippe Herreweghe s lasting interest in the works of the Cantor of Leipzig has turned him into a man whose views evolve as he delves deeper into his subject matter. The joy & pride that he feels in having forged musical tools that have reached maturity, has led him to come back on a Missa that has never ceased to intrigue him: the Catholic Missa of Protestant composer Bach. Together with a handful of excellent soloists and a Collegium vocally and instrumentally at its best, Herreweghe delivers a work that must be savored.
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Philippe Herreweghe
  • Composer: J.S. Bach
  • Audio CD (March 13, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Phi
  • ASIN: B00694VP1O
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By R. Lane on February 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Philippe Herreweghe's second recording of Bach's radiant Mass in b minor (MBM), made in 1998 for Harmonia Mundi, has been my most played recording of my favorite choral work for over a decade. I could not imagine how he could possibly better himself when this recording was announced.

When it arrived the first distinguishing mark that immediately raised my expectations was the recording location - the Jesus-Christus Kirche in Berlin. The conductor/choral director, who has total control of the new semi private Phi label that is dedicated to Herreweghe's ensembles and artists, hauled his forces from Belgium to Germany and likely paid considerable fees to use the facility. That alone should clue everyone in regarding how serious Herreweghe is about making recordings that are lasting testaments to his legacy.

And the listening experience confirms that is truly a MBM to be cherished with the very best. Herreweghe was first a choral conductor, and his Bach performances reflect that heritage - the ensemble singing is unmatched elsewhere. The same can be said for the soloists in duets, trios, etc. Herreweghe knows how to unify artits, and this carries through to the orchestra as well.

Herreweghe's two previous recordings of the MBM, the one mentioned above and a 1988 recording, displayed the same strengths. But the quality of this new recording on Phi that sets it part is the audio. The venue is one of the best in the whole world, as fans of von Karajan can readily attest. Just enough reverb to give the listener some sense of location, but not cavernous. Microphone placement is outstanding. Soloists are clearly discernable from each other, as are the different sections of the chorus, but they still blend remarkably well too.

Highest possible recommendations!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
The genius of Bach's Mass in B-Minor is that it is open to musical interpretation, it may have been assembled by Bach in his final years from parts he had written previously, but that does not dictate how Bach expected it or even imagined it to be performed. Part of Bach's genius may have been leaving this complete work unperformed in his lifetime thus allowing conductors music on which to set free their imagination. That is key to expressing the heavenly and earthy emotions, suffering and praise they personally see in the music. However, too often strong emotions have been displayed concerning how this work should be interpreted. On this third interpretation by Herreweghe he manages to improve on his already impressive recordings revealing an evolved and acoustically soothing style, even his study of medicine, psychiatry and music seem to be displayed in this healing elegance. I do not think it possible - or even desirable - to have a definitive interpretation and I have over 35 recordings of this masterpiece all of which have different reasons they deserve to be listened to but, if you are only looking for one recording of this work, please consider this a worthy candidate. It does not have a massive choir to vigorously sing out the certain sections where some may consider it desirable but it is ethereal, emotional and in many places has a heavenly quality befitting the theological underpinning of this work signed Soli Deo Gloria.

Like a diamond with reflected light Bach's masterpiece displays brilliance whatever light is shone on it.
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Herreweghe's ensemble is an excellent instrument. Excellent sound, superb dynamic control, and with the precision that Bach demands. He is faithful to the score and is yet not cold or neutral. In particular he manages rhythm superbly and avoids the temptation that many others fall in to of too much rubato with the rhythm.

Highly recommended.
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It's taken a long time to find a recording that captures the power and subtlety of this sublime work, but for me this is it. The voices are extraordinary without exception, and rendered with precision and warmth......Far more moving than many of the 'grander' recordings that have come before......
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Format: MP3 Music
Though I do have admiration for the rendition directed by John Eliot Gardiner, I think this recording surpasses it, partly for the performance but also because of the sonic sense of space. This is crispness and radiance exemplified, wielding an effect on the listener more by measured application of emotional pressure than by sheer weight of numbers. For period performance of this work, Gardiner is very good but this Herreweghe, I think, is a shade better -- still, you can't go wrong with either.
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As a veteran of older "massive" versions of the Misse - what a joy to have this one! Herreweghe was a colleague of Harnoncourt and the period approach is prominent. This is also a completely sublime recording from a technical perspective. It is clear crisp, every instrument and voice distinguishable - and everyone is aware one is supposed to understand the lyrics of choral pieces! You will not regret the $28, even if you already have JEG's version (1990).
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