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Beethoven: Symphony No 9, Missa Solemnis / Bernstein


Release Date: 08/14/2001 
Label:  Dg Panorama Catalog #: 469262   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hanna SchwarzRené KolloKurt MollDame Gwyneth Jones,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews


This Panorama release pairs two of the choice items from Bernstein's live Beethoven series, circa 1979-81. The Symphony No. 9, from his complete Vienna Philharmonic symphony cycle, remains one of the great performances for its bold concept, brilliant execution, and overall sense of drama. From first note to last, Bernstein is alive to every inflection, every nuance in Beethoven's score (even a few that aren't, like the string portamentos in the Adagio). For the finale Bernstein assembled a quartet of soloists whose individual timbres make for some unusually piquant combined textures. Best of all is Kurt Moll, whose exquisitely beautiful voice rings with the same humanity and depth of feeling that
Read more made him such a fine Gurnemanz for Karajan. Bernstein's overall approach is decidedly old-school (listen to those wonderfully lugubrious cello recitatives in the finale's introduction), and I must say it's a welcome relief after a year that brought us Abbado's coldly denatured Berlin rendition and Maximianno Cobra's obscene, 110-minute-long leviathan on DVD.

Actually, the Missa solemnis is the real cause for rejoicing. After being so long out of print (in the U.S., at least), it's again available, in sparkling remastered sound. This live performance, recorded in the Concertgebouw, conveys the enormous challenges of Beethoven's score (and the toll they take on the singers, as in Edda Moser's squally high-B in the Sanctus). But mainly what comes across is the heroic effort on the part of all the performers. Bernstein has not so much immersed himself in the score as he has absorbed it, with so many brilliant interpretive touches (those urgent cello octave leaps at Crucifixus etiam in the Credo) sounding as if he were improvising the entire work on the spot. The singers clearly are giving their all, with René Kollo sounding satisfyingly heroic in the Credo and Kurt Moll again stealing the show with his arresting Agnus Dei (how's that for a low F-sharp?) Unfortunately, DG once again thinks that a "beginner" can appreciate this music without any printed text. Who are they kidding? Look, if this is your first Missa, then buy it, as well as another mid-priced version, say Klemperer's, just to get the text. It's that good.

--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hanna Schwarz (Alto), René Kollo (Tenor), Kurt Moll (Bass),
Dame Gwyneth Jones (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 71 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: German 
2. Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bernard Bartelink (Organ), René Kollo (Tenor), Hanna Schwarz (Alto),
Edda Moser (Soprano), Herman Krebbers (Violin), Kurt Moll (Bass)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  N. O. S. Radio Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 81 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

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