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Bruckner: Mass No 1, Motets / Gardiner, Orgonasova, Et Al


Release Date: 05/08/2001 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 459674   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton Bruckner
Performer:  Christoph PrégardienBernarda FinkEike Wilm SchulteLuba Orgonasova,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi ChoirVienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

For some inexplicable reason, the D minor Mass has been the least favoured of the superb trio of Masses Bruckner completed shortly after his 40th birthday in 1864. It has, however, been lucky on record. Deryck Cooke was bowled over by Jochum’s thrilling 1972 Munich recording – ‘a stark simplicity, a profound spirituality, and a tremendous rhythmic drive when called for’ – and Marc Rochester called Matthew Best’s 1993 recording with the Corydon Singers ‘quite simply the best thing they have ever done’. The two performances are quite unalike. Jochum’s is passionate, expressive, South German Catholic; Best’s is chaste, exalted, high Anglican. Happily, Bruckner’s music – rooted in the old order of things but progressive and personal, too – has Read more benison to bestow on both.

That Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s 1996 Vienna Festival performance is going to be a cooler, quicker reading than Jochum’s is evident from the opening phrase of the Kyrie where the VPO strings are not allowed to respond to Bruckner’s instruction ausdrucksvoll (‘expressive’) with the kind of ‘from the heart, to the heart’ intensity Jochum asks of his Bavarian players. The principal characteristics of Gardiner’s reading are textural clarity, a typically rigorous way with rhythm and dynamics, and the superbly drilled singing of the Monteverdi Choir. Since the D minor Mass is an intensely dramatic work this is not inappropriate, though there isn’t much warmth or ‘spirituality’ in these accounts of the Kyrie or the Gloria. In the Credo Bruckner excoriates sense with his bold and original setting, and it is here that Gardiner’s performance finally comes into its own, the sheer intensity of the playing and singing pitching it into a new dimension.

From there, the performance never really looks back. The Sanctus is grand and exciting and the Benedictus (the one movement where Jochum’s performance seems a touch hefty) is beautifully directed at a flowing moderato which keeps sentimentality, though not sentiment, at bay. The Agnus Dei works well, too, though here it is difficult to forget the enormous expressive power of the transition to the final fortissimo ‘Agnus Dei’ in Jochum’s performance or the towering impact of the penultimate cry of ‘dona nobis pacem’ shortly before the end of that same performance. After the Mass’s premiere in November 1864, a Bruckner acquaintance shrewdly predicted that his true medium would be the symphony; and the Mass is, indeed, constructed on symphonic lines, something which Jochum brings out better than anyone, not least the summarising power of the Agnus Dei.

The soloists are not major players in this work. Karl Ridderbusch (Jochum) makes the bass part seem more imposing than it really is and Keith Lewis (Best) ravishes sense with his singing of a single phrase in the Benedictus. But it is only on the Hyperion recording that the soloists excite much interest, and this for the not very good reason that they sing beautifully and are beautifully recorded whereas the choir sing beautifully but are rather ‘lost’ in the big, open, very obviously ecclesiastical Hyperion acoustic. Gardiner’s performance is efficiently balanced and recorded, though less immediate-sounding than the grand and golden-toned Jochum.

I would say that the new version is superior to the Best (its single-CD rival) without, in the final analysis, matching the power and eloquence of the Jochum (in his two-CD set of all three Masses). There is, however, a further 25 minutes of music on Gardiner’s disc: five Bruckner motets in a series of performances which border on perfection. The music is austere, beautiful, exquisitely crafted, yet amazingly powerful. The recordings were made in the church of St Peter and St Paul in Salle, Norfolk in May 1998. The precision, dynamic range, varying volumes, distances and intensities of the singing are the choir’s doing but they suggest, too, a sixth sense at work, drawing choir, conductor, engineers, the Norfolk church and Bruckner’s music into a rare and wonderful accord.

-- Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mass no 1 in D minor, WAB 26 by Anton Bruckner
Performer:  Christoph Prégardien (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (Alto), Eike Wilm Schulte (Baritone),
Luba Orgonasova (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864/1882; Linz, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1996 
Venue:  Live  Great Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 41 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  St.'s Peter and Paul Church, Norfolk 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3.
Locus iste in C major, WAB 23 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  St.'s Peter and Paul Church, Norfolk 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4.
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, WAB 30 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Linz, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  St.'s Peter and Paul Church, Norfolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5.
Christus factus est by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  St.'s Peter and Paul Church, Norfolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
Tota pulchra es, WAB 46 by Anton Bruckner
Performer:  Ian Watson (Organ), Julian Podger (Tenor)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  St.'s Peter and Paul Church, Norfolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

Sound Samples

Mass No.1 in D minor for soloists, chorus and orchestra: 1. Kyrie
Mass No.1 In D Minor For Soloists, Chorus And Orchestra: 2. Gloria
Mass No.1 in D minor for soloists, chorus and orchestra: 3. Credo
Mass No.1 in D minor for soloists, chorus and orchestra: 4. Sanctus
Mass No.1 in D minor for soloists, chorus and orchestra: 5. Benedictus
Mass No.1 in D minor for soloists, chorus and orchestra: 6. Agnus Dei
Ave Maria (Motet)
Tota pulchra es Maria
Locus Iste (Motet)
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam (Motet)
Christus Factus Est (Motet)

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