Notes and Editorial Reviews
This, the latter of Herbert von Karajan's two recordings of Bach's 'B Minor Mass', finds the maestro in luxury-limo-driver mode, creating a richly upholstered sound in the service of a smooth and stately ride. Unlike his previous version, the performance offers no parallel to the clear textures and dancing rhythms of early music specialists, but rather seems to reach back to a previous generation of performers, evoking comparison with classic Bach recordings by Furtwängler and Klemperer. From the opening blast of the Kyrie, the concept is grand and monumental: the music flows forth in seamless rolling waves, with rhythmic contours somewhat softened in favor of long, beautiful lines; and much beauty is found in the voices of the star soloists soprano Gundila Janowitz, mezzo Christa Ludwig and tenor Peter Schreier. It is an interesting view and, on its own terms, authentic. Period practice it isn't, but a trip it is.