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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Gielen, Vienna Radio Symphony

Release Date: 03/06/2020 
Label:  Orfeo   Catalog #: 999201  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf ScholzThomas MoserMarjana LipovsekAlison Hargan,   ... 
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Radio Symphony OrchestraWiener Singverein
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Missa solemnis was Beethoven’s reaction to his student Arch-Duke Rudolph, youngest brother to Emperor Franz I of Austria, being appointed Arch-Bishop of Olmütz in 1819. A spontaneous decision to write this music without a direct commission. He planned for the oevre to be completed on the occasion of Rudolph’s enthronement on March 19, 1820, but the work proved to be much more difficult for the composer than he had anticipated, and accordingly the premiere did not take place for another four years – on April 7, 1824 in a charity concert of the Philharmonic Society St. Petersburg. It is not easy for the Missa solemnis today. This extraordinary work does not appear in the concert programmes as often as it still did some years ago. Read more “The world of shareholder values doesn’t care for Christ”, as Michael Gielen says. He states that this is one of the reasons for the difficulties this work seems to cause audiences today. Michael Gielen, who passed away in March 2019, can be heard in this historical recording from 1985 with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Read less

Works on This Recording

Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Rudolf Scholz (Organ), Thomas Moser (Tenor), Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano),
Alison Hargan (Soprano), Matthias Hölle (Bass)
Conductor:  Michael Gielen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Wiener Singverein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Gielen's Excellent "Missa Solemnis" June 28, 2020 By Art Music Lady See All My Reviews "This live 1985 performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is a fair representation of the way Gielen conducted the music. In addition to this performance, I also have one on DVD (privately made for me by a friend of Gielen’s) with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson and the Cincinnati Symphony, but although it’s wonderful to see him conducting again I have to admit that the sound quality isn’t optimal. As a result, my favorite stereo or digital recording has been the June 1973 live performance conducted by William Steinberg with Heather Harper, Julia Hamari, Sven Olof Eliasson and Peter Meven as soloists, on ICA Classics 5054. Making an A-B comparison between this recording and Steinberg’s, I find myself unable to decide which of the two is better. (I might also throw in Kenneth Schermerhorn’s excellent performance with the Nashville Symphony and four lesser-known soloists, included by Naxos in their mostly very good Beethoven Complete Edition.) None are quite as good as Arturo Toscanini’s three great recorded performances, with the New York Philharmonic in 1935 and with the NBC Symphony in 1940 and 1953 (the live performance, not the studio recording), of which the best of the best is that 1940 broadcast. If you were to combine the slower first movement of the Gielen performance with the slower performances of the remaining four movements by Steinberg, you’d have an ideal recording, but the sonics are quite different. The Steinberg performance, recorded at a bit of a distance, gives the whole performance an effect as if the soft passages were floating through the ether, whereas the Gielen performance was recorded with very close miking. And that is the one reason why, despite all the wonderful things that Gielen does here, I must come down in favor of Steinberg. See my complete review at https://artmusiclounge.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/gielens-excellent-missa-solemnis/" Report Abuse
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