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Stephen F Vasta
04-27-2001, 10:29 AM
Luis wrote: "Has anyone heard B's missa solemnis by Levine on the Complete Beethoven Edition? It's TERRIBLE!!! I wonder why DG having so many good versions of this mass put this one on the set!! (My onw favorite is Karajan's 66)"

I agree about the Levine - as I find so frequently with him, the level of superficial tension in the performance impresses for about five minutes, but fatigues both the ear and the psyche soon thereafter.

I don't share your enthusiasm for Karajan '66, though - the orchestra sounds overly blended, and the woodwinds rather soft-edged and even out of tune. (Nor do I care for the even murkier-sounding EMI remake, or the DG digital one.)

Out of DG's various "Missae Solemnes," I've always been partial to the Bohm - both rugged and tonally beautiful. Was this ever issued on CD? (Not that I'm looking to buy - I have the LPs anyhow.) The Bernstein/Concertgebouw is, I think, thrilling, but the recording is noticeably artificial.

What other recordings do people like?

SFV

Peter
04-27-2001, 03:11 PM
The first recording I had of this was the - New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/Otto Klemperer which I still regard highly today, despite not being an overall fan of Klemperer.

For a period instrument version, I've not heard finer than Orchestre des Champs Elysses and the Choeurs de la Chapelle Royale et du Collegium Vocale, directed by Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi HMC 901557)





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'Man know thyself'

Rod
04-27-2001, 10:36 PM
Originally posted by Stephen F Vasta:
Luis wrote: "Has anyone heard B's missa solemnis by Levine on the Complete Beethoven Edition? It's TERRIBLE!!! I wonder why DG having so many good versions of this mass put this one on the set!! (My onw favorite is Karajan's 66)"

I agree about the Levine - as I find so frequently with him, the level of superficial tension in the performance impresses for about five minutes, but fatigues both the ear and the psyche soon thereafter.

I don't share your enthusiasm for Karajan '66, though - the orchestra sounds overly blended, and the woodwinds rather soft-edged and even out of tune. (Nor do I care for the even murkier-sounding EMI remake, or the DG digital one.)

Out of DG's various "Missae Solemnes," I've always been partial to the Bohm - both rugged and tonally beautiful. Was this ever issued on CD? (Not that I'm looking to buy - I have the LPs anyhow.) The Bernstein/Concertgebouw is, I think, thrilling, but the recording is noticeably artificial.

What other recordings do people like?

SFV

My first recording of the MS was a later one by Karajan (can't remember the year but it was a DDD recording) and the BPO. Not bad apart from a totally misconceived Credo. Singing was good. I've had a few recordings since then, the least appealing being conducted by Bernstein. Today I play just my recording by the Hanover Band, which despite having some occasional less than perfect trumpet playing, has a uniquely colourful Baroque sound most appropriate for a work such as this. One has to remember it's a personal religeous statement by Beethoven and not a Mahler symphony.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

PDG
04-27-2001, 11:20 PM
I like Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, on Sony (CBS, from 1967). Very good soloists, nice balance with male & female choristers split left & right in the stereo balance, & understated orchestral power throughout. And at 77 minutes, it fits on just one disc. I just played it again - very nice!

Interesting reading the sleevenotes again..........As part of his preparation in writing this mass, Beethoven copied out choruses from Handel's Messiah, an example of just how highly he regarded the earlier composer.

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PDG (Peter)

Rod
04-27-2001, 11:43 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
...And at 77 minutes, it fits on just one disc. I just played it again - very nice!


Thankfully this is the norm these days, but not typical of earlier recordings. Now I wouldn't even consider a version of this work if it came on two disks. By default it means something has been interpreted too broadly.

Originally posted by PDG:

Interesting reading the sleevenotes again..........As part of his preparation in writing this mass, Beethoven copied out choruses from Handel's Messiah, an example of just how highly he regarded the earlier composer.


I didn't know this (though I may have forgotten it - easily done in my case!), but I have read comments by scholars along similar lines with regard to the MS, namely that B's use of counterpoint was more akin to Handel than Bach. I know B was especially interested in H's use of unison singing (think this is the term) by the chorus, which H often used to striking effect.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited 04-27-2001).]

Peter
05-01-2001, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
Interesting reading the sleevenotes again..........As part of his preparation in writing this mass, Beethoven copied out choruses from Handel's Messiah, an example of just how highly he regarded the earlier composer.



A theme from the Dona nobis pacem is adapted from Handel's melody to the words 'and he shall reign for ever and ever' in the Hallelujah chorus. Perhaps the most striking use of unison voices that Rod referred to is in the Andante Maestoso of the 9th Symphony finale.

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
05-02-2001, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
A theme from the Dona nobis pacem is adapted from Handel's melody to the words 'and he shall reign for ever and ever' in the Hallelujah chorus. Perhaps the most striking use of unison voices that Rod referred to is in the Andante Maestoso of the 9th Symphony finale.



In Barry Cooper's new book on B, he argues that the quotation from the "Messiah" was not deliberate but grew naturally from the material, and that B only became aware of it at a later stage.
I find this hard to believe, but Barry Cooper has done more research on the composer's sketches than almost anyone else, therefore his opinions carry some weight.
I think Beethoven would have been deaf not to make the connection.

Michael

PDG
05-02-2001, 03:49 PM
I, too, am suspicious of Cooper's argument, Michael. A lesser composer may have subconsciously copied Handel's melodic line, but Beethoven's genius would have instinctively prevented him from following suit; it must have been deliberate in this case.

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PDG (Peter)

Rod
05-02-2001, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
In Barry Cooper's new book on B, he argues that the quotation from the "Messiah" was not deliberate but grew naturally from the material, and that B only became aware of it at a later stage.
I find this hard to believe, but Barry Cooper has done more research on the composer's sketches than almost anyone else, therefore his opinions carry some weight.
I think Beethoven would have been deaf not to make the connection.

Michael


I have some sympathy with Cooper on this point. I'd been playing both without being consious of the connection until I read about it! - if B quotes Handel it's far from a direct one, though I could not say B was not influenced at all by the Handel passage, and also one could say B's treatment of the material is somewhat Handelian.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin